Indie bands have done R&B before – you will have heard of the xx. Now, with genre boundaries more porous than ever, swapping lo-fi pop for R&B shouldn’t feel like an audacious act. This album does. One record ago, Girl Ray were a fresh-faced, lo-fi pop three-piece whose videos featured games of rounders. Now, their second outing suggests a burgeoning north London version of Haim or, perhaps, Broadcast playing the songs of Everything But the Girl.
Show Me More, released last summer, may have found Poppy Hankin, Iris McConnell and Sophie Moss still riding bicycles in the video, but their disco tune offered vastly increased quotients of slinkiness and soul. The hazy title track, meanwhile, nods to Tom Tom Club, with a swirling keyboard motif underlining how much has changed in this trio’s outlook. House piano, a rapper – PSwuave – and, on Beautiful, a reggae lilt, all have their place on Girl. These moves are still tentative, and talk of artistic progression is often the kiss of death, but Girl Ray have moved out of a place of limitations into more kaleidoscopic musicality.