It’s been both fun and a little bizarre to see “shoegaze” move from a clutch of English bands grappling with the implications of Isn’t Anything and Daydream Nation to a constantly replenished source of sound and approach worldwide. On one level Birmingham, Alabama’s Wray is just another shoegaze band, with dreamily sighed/smeared vocals and a penchant for feedback wooziness. But Wray recall a specific kind of mid-’90s feeling, one where shoegaze combined with motorik and post-punk, resulting in a crop of underrated American acts like Seely, Deardarkhead and the Curtain Society.
The result on Wray’s brisk self-titled debut — seven songs total at under half an hour — is a perfect little treat, the kind of inspired start that has clear enough roots but puts all the pieces together beautifully. It helps that the first wave U.K. band they sound like most might be Swervedriver, a kind of controlled raunch and roll that almost boogies as much as it shimmers on burn-down-the-highway songs like the majestic “May 15″ and “Bad Heart.” Just a start, not yet a true culmination, but it’s a damn good one that promises more to come.