The thrilling debut album from this intense New York City trio makes their city feel alive once again
The BellRays : Brighton Concorde 2
Kekaula out the jams...
Spinning between lascivious soul-funk, muscular psychedelia and fiery garage rock, Kekaula's consistently powerful voice is the linchpin. As the songs break down, fall apart and rebuild themselves, she strikes another snap-worthy pose and howls "There's gonna be a war". The ten minutes that follow are suitably raucous: 'Fire On The Moon' is an instant hit, 'They Glued Your Head On Upside-Down' sharp garage-pop.
And, if at any point The BellRays seem to lose their way, Kekaula holds them in check. A frontwoman of the rarest breed: supremely confident, possessed of the voice of a female James Brown, she pulsates sexuality. When she grinds up against guitarist Tony Fate and curls round husband/bassist Bob Vennum, the two respond by pulling out all their most clichéd moves, holding their guitars low over the audience, windmilling away while drummer Vince M bashes relentlessly behind them.
It could be 1968, 1977 or 1989, and The BellRays' music could be burning out of a sweaty inner-city basement instead of floating off across deserted Brighton beach to the Channel. That they're here and now is all that matters. This is music spiked with attitude, but - just as importantly - it's music to dance to. And dammit, you will dance.
Kimberly Taylor Bennett
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