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Music review: Fay Wrays
Music Review: Fay Wrays
Album Title: Strange Confessor
Released: May 2011
The first song on the new Fay Wrays album, Strange Confessor, starts as a lockstep sing-along and quickly crescendos to a yell. On their sophomore release, the Fresno band makes a quick and exceptional leap forward by producing nine rock songs explosive enough to blast into a packed mosh pit, but also intricate enough to parse through headphones while home alone. Singer/songwriter Benji McEntee’s vocal delivery ranges from a sweet, friendly whisper to a furious, guttural growl. McEntee’s guitars screech and shred and then bottom out like slag, while the drumming of Eli Reyes rumbles across the album like machine gun fire echoing through a canyon. There are genre surprises, too. “Painting Dollar Bills” has a shoegaze jam for a bridge that sounds like a mix of classic Pink Floyd, early Battles, and Fresno contemporaries The Quiet Americans. “San Francisco (in) General” summons the prog-metal of Tool, the alt-rock of Soundgarden, and the brooding indie squeal of Black Heart Procession. And then there are the lyrics: Taken literally, the album can be interpreted as a paean to the band’s hometown (“Comrade Weather”), to McEntee’s wife Danielle (“She Gave Me a Compass”), or to the process of making music itself (standout track “The Sound is a Little Different in My Head”). But in a different way, breaking down the lyrics doesn’t feel right. If taken as sound alone, McEntee’s words feel more like longing, like desperation, like reconciliation – and also a little like love. In the end, Strange Confessor translates as a confident, complex rock record. The band delivers tightly constructed thrash, with full experimental movements and moments of eerie restraint. But Strange Confessor also translates as a fierce punisher. It will steal your breath. It will demand your attention. It is a relentless musical document quite worthy of deeper study.