The eponymous debut album of the Rayographs was recorded by legendary underground producer John Hannon at a studio in a farm in Essex.
Dense in its variety, shifting through urgent riffs, nightmarish, hollowed out 60s pop and looped narrative, the songs are deeply personal in their biographical fortitude.
‘Rayographs’ is an album emblazoned by heroines.
"I saw in her eyes that she was a writer and there were stories within."
Rayographs have carved out their own distinctive sound which taps into a dark shimmering psychedelia: blue like petrol, kaleidoscopic with flecks of colour throughout. The songs have an odd timeless quality that yearn for absent cinematic visuals. Swooping, atmospheric vocals, stream-of-consciousness vignettes encased in 60s garage hooks.
Rayographs are Astrud Steehouder (guitar/ vocals), Jessamine Tierney (bass/ vocals) and Amy Hurst (drums/ occasional vocals). The band was born one ultra hot summer in Amy’s bedroom, amidst the bare bones of a handful of blues-inflected songs written on an acoustic guitar. As the sound developed, and the interweaving melodic bass lines, spatial thundering drums and waves of dark surf guitar were added, the songs have managed to retain a simplicity and subtlety that evokes a pure confidence in the strength of the songwriting, and in turn creates a space to be inhabited by a brooding, potent imagination.
November 2008 saw the release of their sold-out debut 'Hidden Doors'; a limited-edition hand-printed 7" single that was made single of the week by Organ, Normans Records and Piccadilly Records, with excellent reviews from Artrocker and The Stool Pigeon, who described it as "a simmering blues tattoo enunciated like a hex and sharing not a little in common with Nick Cave's 'Tupelo'", while US site Stereogum heralded them as a band to watch, likening them to “Grace Slick working with The Breeders”.
They released their second, highly acclaimed, limited edition 7" ‘Francis’ in July 2009, which was once again made record of the week by Piccadilly Records, appeared as a featured release on US iTunes and editors’ playlists, including Rockfeedback, Stereogum and Rolling Stone. The record was frequently compared to the Pixies and early PJ Harvey, cementing their reputation as one of London's most promising bands, merging incisive observational narratives with pummeling garage riffs.
In between Rayographs travelled to Paris and other faraway lands, playing a host of mesmeric live shows including Offset Festival, as well as contributing to the odd independent film score.
A heady and eclectic mix of sonic, visual, and literary influences contribute to the Rayographs’ sound, notably The Pixies, David Lynch, 60s Psychedelia, Can, Angelo Badalamenti, Patti Smith, Francesca Woodman, Shellac, Nick Cave, Derek Jarman, Raymond Carver and Eugene O’Neill. This melting pot of ideas has resulted in a sound rich in imagination with a blues tinge, that has become galvanised in studios and on stage, quietly and carefully honing their craft to produce a body of work that is uniquely their own.
Their name comes from Man Ray’s eponymous method of surrealist photography where an item is placed directly onto the paper without the use of a negative, often involving strange juxtapositions of objects. The images created are at once ethereal, stark and beautiful - qualities which could easily be ascribed to the Rayographs' songs.
"Invoking the restless blues spirit of proto-riot grrrl heroines in the mould of Patti Smith as well as the dreamy tremblings of The Breeders, (Rayographs) provide demure elegance in a sea of grubby punks, with pummelling rhythms strewn with forlorn, waiflike voices and surging progressive chords." NME
"'Hidden Doors' is a simmering blues tattoo enunciated like a hex and sharing not a little in common with Nick Cave's 'Tupel"The spiritual offspring of Patti Smith and Polly Jean Harvey" Rockfeedback
"They are not verse-chorus-verse immediate pop songs that everyone will instantly take to - they are immeasurably deeper and more precious than that" - Tasty Fanzine
“Francis is magnificent- a tense, pulsing incarnation of The Breeders, with spectral harmonies flitting between sweet dreams and torrid nightmares” - AU Magazine
“Reminiscent of Grace Slick working with the Breeders” – Stereogum
“Hidden Doors’ prowls along with a dark beating heart, with all three girls in the band performing their socks off as if guided by ghosts" - Artrocker
“The three short songs on the Francis EP established a sound and identity that others haven’t achieved in a string of albums” - Fatea Records
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