Deathray Davies

SXSW Records

Phases and Stages

Deathray Davies

The Day of the Ray (Idol) The fidelity is so bad it sounds like an answering-machine message. Plus, the track is only a minute and 13 seconds long. So, would it be an insult to call "Don't Point at the Stoners" the best song on the new Deathray Davies album? It shouldn't be, because it typifies the best things about the Davies: short, sweet, catchy, and endearingly left-of-center. As good as the Dallas sensations' last album The Return of the Drunk Ventriloquist was, this has an advantage in numbers. Davies leader John Dufilho recorded the group's first two efforts more of less by himself, but this time he brought his band with him. It obvious from the first, meaty riff of "Is This On?" that this incarnation rocks a bit harder. The ragged, lo-fi side is still there, it's just that the highs are now higher, and the lows lower. And the in-between? It leans heavily on an assertive organ sound, out-of-nowhere hooks, and drums that go from nonexistent to full to fuller and back again. "She Can Play Me Like a Drum Machine" hits a point where guitar and organ meld on that imaginary summer day where Black Francis once found that perfect "Wave of Mutilation." And then it's gone, as Dufilho starts on one of his mad spin cycles. When "The Aztec God" strikes that same nostalgic chord as Elvis Costello's "Other Side of Summer," The Day of the Ray distinguishes itself as one of those albums that'll only get better as spring turns into summer. (Thursday, March 14, Iron Cactus, midnight)


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