Electric Ray and the Shockers – California Torpedo [Album]

Kaitlin Ruether, 1 year ago

Every now and then you find a band with a name so great you have a sense for their sound immediately. This is the case with Austrian band Electric Ray and the Shockers, and even more the case with their debut album title: California Torpedo. Tumbling surf vibes and no shortage of electric darkness, Electric Ray and the Shockers find the fun in the sinister.

The surf-punk strikes hard on the first track, “Long Valley Dance”, which crunches along with dark-wave atmosphere and a hint of post-punk nostalgia that is expanded upon in the calmed down later track “California Torpedo”.  “Trouble” — or “T.R.O.U.B.L.E” as it’s spelled for the video — uses panicky vocalization to carry the album to a darker place, a place perhaps found in the interlude-esque “Dead”.

“Memory Hunter” is the introduction to the more organic side of Electric Ray and the Shockers. The vocals take a note from Bob Dylan and half-speak over the lovely backing instrumentation. But the album unity is not lost as the surf sounds return with the rolling bass of “Wake Up”. California Torpedo has a notable variety of sonic influence, particularly when it comes to Electric Ray’s vocals. “Tempt Me” features a growl while album closer “You Make Time Fade to a Laugh” seems inspired by the chill tones of Lou Reed. “Night is a Woman” is an internal roam, rooted in sounds that evoke heartbeats and the filling of lungs, it shifts in a personal way as the lyrics become instructional.

“Yes, we’ve come a long, long way,” are featured lyrics in “You Make Time Fade to a Laugh”, which is the longest title and track on the record, at over five and a half minutes. But there’s authenticity. As the album closes, we feel the emotional depth of the journey taken by the band, and the one the album carries you along on.

California Torpedo was released on December 23rd, 2016. To hear more from Electric Ray and the Shockers, check out their website, Facebook page, and Bandcamp.

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