Pure Sunray is a great example of what happens when you put two songwriters with two distinct backgrounds, artistic personalities and creative sensitivities in a project together. Already busy with their other projects (Autochrome, Magic Shoppe, Swirlies, Broken River Prophet), the duo of Jeff Bartell and Deborah Warfield set out to give life to this brand new project, and introduce it to the world with a self-titled four-song EP Pure Sunray. This is essentially pop, but with an experimental twist to it, blending classic 80’s new wave sounds with modern indie pop melodies, especially when it comes to the cool vocal harmonies and layers. The songs are straight-forward and energetic, yet sophisticated in their own right: the trick is to find that great fit, that balance between elements in a song that makes a simple approach stand out as something fresh and original.
I knew I was going to dig this band as soon as I heard the first 20 seconds of “Caramel.” The down-tempo, poppy music that bursts like a bubble. The songs are filled with exuberance. However, the one thing that I felt needed improvement was the level of the vocals. I felt they were buried in the song at points and felt there was no reason to do that. The second song “Can You Imagine” is a throwback to the 80’s synth pop not unlike a band like Chromatics. It is a really good song but again I felt like the vocals could have shined a bit more. They end the EP with “Giver” which was a bit less of a dance number and introduced more shoe gaze elements this time around. This is a solid album with good ideas but I would love to hear a step-up in terms of the production on their next effort.
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