The new and fourth album “The Taker” from New York rock band The Raygun Girls is a mix, a mix of dark tones, gothic flavourings, thumping riffs and quality. At times it is a confusing release that one is not sure whether to like or dislike but by the end of its eleven tracks the view is just about more favourable than not. There are certainly more positives than negatives but the things that are not as good make a marked difference to the albums quality and effect.
The Raygun Girls formed back in 2004 and over the years turned into a female fronted band bringing rock tunes that brought a blend of metal, goth and industrial sounds. 2011 sees their return with the new album but apart from a couple of tracks, with founder Geoff at the vocal forefront. He leads nine of the tracks backed by either guest female vocalists Jacinda Espinosa and Girl Named Sam on some tracks. The remaining tunes are led by the girls, one for each and it must be said the band certainly benefit more when Geoff takes a back seat vocally and just delivers the strong music he creates. His vocals are fine enough but because of the raw and generally ordinary production on the album it does him no favours.
The music of The Raygun Girls blends a sound that recalls the likes of Danzig, Rob Zombie, Lacuna Coil, and Type O Negative in a blend infused with electronica/industrial flavours. The sound is fundamentally sound and at times quite addictive but there always feels like there is the vital spark missing to lift a song to its promising heights. The band create strong enough music but against other similar veined underground bands like The Rock ‘N’ Roll Villain Society they feel adrift in levels.
The album opens on ‘My Dying Life’ and it really left some doubts. The track is not bad, but with the production and rather ordinary riffs and melodies it gives more questions than answers. ‘Designated Killer’ does lift things straight after, with crawling riffs and thumping rhythms and despite a hollow sound to the music against the vocals as if it playing in another room to the vocals, it is reasonably strong. This is a feature of the album, for every song that is below par like ‘Release Me’ there is a ‘Black Holes’ or ‘Drag You Down’ to redress the balance.
The frustrating thing with The Taker is that within most tracks there is some great music going on, good riffs and inventive sounds against strong rhythms but invariably the production or vocals let them down. When things do work though, they are quite memorable with three tracks standing out that make the release worth investigation at the very least.
‘Good Grip’ featuring Girl Named Sam on vocals erupts on striking riffs that steer the track in to her excellent vocals; melodic and soaring even with a hollow effect/production on them work really well. The slow doom crawl of ‘You Will Believe’ with a dual male and female vocal shows a good craft in its composition and is an inviting track which may have been better placed at the start of the playlist. Final track ‘Rain’ featuring Jacinda Espinosa completes the trio of notable songs, an emotive and atmospheric part industrial track, its grace and beauty almost puts it out of place on the release.
The taker is a decent enough album but certainly not one to inspire a rush to the bands back catalogue. As one listens the over whelming thought is of how much better it could have been, all the ingredients seem there but with a shoddy production that failed in bringing a good raw sound, and at times variable vocals, it misses the mark by too far a gap to give satisfaction.