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The Cathode Ray

Infinite Variety (Stereogram)

By • Feb 27th, 2015 • Category: long players

From opener ‘Backed Up’s taut avant dub entrance to the spiral and crunch of guitars strafed over crisp bass and drums, there’s no doubting the sonic sparkle of this tour de force of pared-down yet vital rock from The Cathode Ray.

There’s confidence aplenty here. Effortlessly riding every angular guitar squiggle and martial drum punctuations, each song inhabits its perfect sonic skin. Running times here are indeed varied, and as with the perfectly measured arrangements, tailored to suit the song -from the snappy brevity of the single, Resist, to the elongated closer, the swirling ‘Saving Grace’.

Nagging riffs kickstart or uncoil from every track. The guitars of singer Jeremy Thoms and axe ace Steve Fraser play off each other throughout to pretty thrilling effect. There are enough seasoned subtleties in their playing to repay repeated listenings for six-string kicks alone but the album lands emotional punches to match them. Thoms’ lyrics and nuanced vocal stylings play on the open-hearted side of cool, over the 11 songs describing a redemptive arc from stifling confinement to a winning sense of salvation.
This cohesion, both musical and lyrical, ensures that Infinite Variety refrains from straying into the smorgasbord of styles its title might at first suggest. The Cathode Ray never lose focus despite the myriad influences distilled by the four-piece.

An urgent, engaging sophomore offering from a band that effortlessly blends musical maturity with the fizz and buzz of prime guitar pop.

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