In their glowing intro to the premiere of the humorous video for “Friends and the Fakers,” the title track to emerging pop/rock duo LowRay’s first full length album, the premier indie music website Popdust offered: “Minnesota is famous for artists like Prince, The Replacements and Husker Du. Soon we’ll be able to add LowRay to that list. Amen. Any album this well played, engaging and enjoyable should inspire such optimism.
Yet one listen to the track, which sounds like a brooding, slow rumbling, harmonically picture perfect Tom Petty outtake (which would be perfectly at home, say, on the recent collection An American Treasure), lets us know what's what. LowRay's enduring success will likely be due not to a purely original sound but from the unabashed exuberance that Minneapolis native Daniel Fowlds (singer/guitarist) and British born drummer James Irving bring to their colorful twist on the fantastic array of classic influences that infuse their passions.
Nothing wrong with balancing delightfully catchy, crisp and edgy, and dreamy, lilting and soulful, alternating cool vibes from track to track, as long as they’re sincere eminently infectious and enjoyable. The duo, who first met when Irving, a recent transplant to the Twin Cities, was hired to mix an album for Fowld’s then-band Pill Hill, bring their crackling chemistry to the bluesy, banging skiffle shuffle “Western Song,” and trip delicately into classic Beatles acoustic strumming territory (with a crisp electric harmony line and solo) on the heartfelt “I’m Sorry.”
The real charm here comes from the intense moodswings, taking us from the soaring, high energy harmony pop of “8 Track Tapes” and the driving rock jangle of “There’s A Place” to the Bryan Adams-esque grit of “Lonely Tuesday Night” and haunting, introspective soul of “Palisade” and “Let Me Be.” Both Fowlds and Irving are veterans of other bands who bring the best of their cumulative experience to create something both wildly fresh and comfortably familiar to a sound that will no doubt fulfill Popdust’s prophecy somewhere down the road.