Charlie and the Rays is a duo comprised of sisters Jordan and Rebecca Stobbe. The sisters hail from Seattle but this most recent record was recorded in New York and produced by Johnny Sangster (Mudhoney, Mark Lanegan, The Posies, Neko Case). The EP ‘That’s Where You Were Born’ also includes support from Gracia Bridges on lead guitar and Jack Brady on drums.
It’s a short and sweet offer, coming in at only three tracks. The overriding sound is ’60s folk pop with a definite slug of California sunshine.
First track ‘Away for the Weekend’, however, starts us off on a sombre note. Written in response to hearing about a protest in Seattle where tear-gas was used to control crowds, the track highlights how easily the media gloss over and hide such events: “I was away for the weekend, how did I not hear?”. The song drips with heartache and emotion and the pedal steel comes in to entwine with the vocals beautifully.
‘Wanna Be Like You’ is more upbeat and showcases the energy and fun the duo are having in the band. It’s a real foot tapper and vocally the Stobbe sisters are in perfect harmony throughout, not twee, real and earthy. It gives a great opportunity for Rebecca in particular to belt out the lyrics – she’s got real power in her voice.
Final track ‘Lady Love’ is catchy, vibrant and brings a little bit of rock n roll into this smorgasbord of harmonies, guitars and the ’60s love-in.
It’s difficult to make a full assessment from just three tracks but Charlie and the Rays are accomplished musicians, with strong harmonies and some infectious tunes. Interested to hear more.