Individuals might not know that this band used to be Apocalipstick. Since the EP, the band has become a little more fleshed out, and while there are still some issues with the production of this album, there are present the same brand of catchy punk tunes that were so prevalent in the previous disc. There are pieces of “Cowboy” that really seem to look more toward the rockabilly (Tiger Army and Nekromantix, in Andy’s bass lines) movement than the aforementioned country movement for inspiration. “The Beast Inside The Babysitter” recalls the halcyon days of X in its dual-part harmony and dense instrumentation; while sounding chaotic at time, there is always the sense on the track that The Sex Rays have everything under control.
The incorporation of other influences, whether covertly or overtly (the wholescale grab of the lick for “Turning Japanese” on “Lick” is one sterling example, really give The Sex Rays a solid footing for wherever they do end up going on the track. “Cant Find My Boots”, a re-tooling of Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Were Made For Walking” seems extraneous considering the current butchering of the song done by Jessica Simpson for the Dukes of Hazzard soundtrack, but the homage down to the original shows The Sex Rays’ ability to allow the original to shine through even though the track is surely theirs. Of even greater note is the second half of the track, which morphs the straight-forward sound of the cover into something resembling operatic metal (think Candlemass, Blind Guardian or even some of Meatloaf’s more metal-laden stuff).
When The Sex Rays actually begin to change up their general sound, such as in “Sink”; a track that looks more to the grunge movement stylistically than anything, and even manages to throw an operatic set of vocals into the mix, listeners will turn their heads in wonder. It may just be one of the latest tracks on the disc in “Inflatable Lover” that The Sex Rays musically reach their zenith; the mastering seems to improve a mite as the layering present on the track makes this more of a choose your own adventure novel than anything; a shrill guitar solo takes the background to provide the perfect backing for the vocals on the disc. This full-length boldly soldiers through 12 tracks with the greatest of ease, only suffering minor setbacks at rare times during its’ length. Check out The Sex Rays.
Top Tracks: Whoop-Ti-Do, Cowboy
The Sex Rays – S/T / 2005 Bazoom! / 12 Tracks / http://www.thesexrays.com / Reviewed 31 July 2005