Like labelmates the Hives, the UK's first taste of the BellRays comes in the form of Meet the BellRays, a compilation of key tracks from their first two US-released albums, Grand Fury and Let It Blast. And like the Hives, Los Angeles' BellRays take many of their cues from the Detroit revival (the Poptones catalogue number's first three digits are MC5--cute), albeit with a distinct US west-coast flavour. The comparisons should end there, however; Lisa Kekaula's powerful vocals are reminiscent of Grace Slick circa Jefferson Airplane, while musically the BellRays are more heads-down than flying leaps. Their influences are firmly rooted in rock's more sombre past--see the visceral howl of the MC5 echoing through "Zero PM", "Under The Mountain" and "Too Many Houses in Here", the tiniest touch of Black Sabbath on "Hole in the World", and the moody resonance of Eric Burdon on "Blue Cirque". There may not be much new about The BellRays, but we're still pleased as slightly psychedelic punch to make their acquaintance.--Leslie Gilotti
The most energetic rock 'n soul album ever!!