Fay Wrays
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Fay Wrays

Fresno, California, United States | INDIE

Fresno, California, United States | INDIE
Band Alternative Rock

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"Music That Needs Your Attention"

From the scorching heat on the edge of San Fernando Valley, come the Fay Wrays.

Somewhere between old school hardcore punk, noise and 90s garage sound you find the cleverly titled band wedging themselves into the world in their own special Fay Wrays shaped niche.

Fay Wray is a trio made up of Ben McEntee (guitars, bass, vocals), Paul Albert Harper (bass, noise), and Eli Reyes (drums, vocals) who have been making post punk music in Fresno since about 2006. Most recently they’ve released a 8 tracks in an album titled Stranger Confessor. An album that says, fairly loudly, you really might want to pay attention to us. Now.

The band has been known to cite influences as wide and varied as Dischord to Sonic Youth to Fugazi. Uncited? I can’t help but hear Rage Against the Machine and maybe even a touch of the Generals of punk, Black Flag. Intended or not, the diverse influences show. Their music runs the spectrum of all these influences, sometimes all in one song. Take the first track off their latest release, Confessor, “When We Storm the Gates We Will Sing This Song.” Successfully combining a rolling thump intro into what will eventually blow the walls (or gates) down. "Gates" is a piece that exemplifies Fay Wrays ability to switch it up and keep their work interesting; not just song by song but even within each song. Some tracks by the band rock heavy, rolling guitar riffs that make even the mildest mannered listener want to bang their head, just a little bit. Then in the next breath the music slips into a peaceful guitar and drum glide down through into atmospheric noise territory. And frankly…this is what atmospheric noise should be like.

Overall, that’s indicative of Fay Wrays style-not-a-style style. Even though heavy and hard tends to be an adjective that really fits for most of the work, clever tweaks of sound, amazing bass and smoothly handled guitar work keep the music interesting and the band moving forward through a genre overloaded with people who think they’re doing it right. Because up to now, Fay Wrays are. - In Your Speakers


"Ten Rock Records That Blew My Nads Off in 2011"

Hailing from the Fresno/Los Angeles area, the FAY WRAYS are an indie post-punk trio primarily comprised of Ben McEntee (guitars, bass, vocals), Paul Albert Harper (bass, noise), and Eli Reyes (drums, vocals). The band originally formed back in 2006, and also has a 5-song EP entitled Mata Hari under its belt.

The band cites an array of influences behind their SOUND – from bands like AC/DC, Sonic Youth, Helmet, and MC5 to artists like Brian Eno, Tears For Fears, and Joy Division.

And it is THE SOUND, precisely, that this band seems fully engrained in cultivating, communicating, and transubstantiating with their fans and listeners. They even go so far as to quote George Bernard Shaw as to what we must refer to when words fail us, and all other points of comparison disappear.
- Rockthought.com


"Best Albums of 2011"

Noisy Americans. This was another one that came from the random blog submissions pile that i listened to loads, but never really did anything about writing up. We've long established that I'm useless though. Not quite sure why Strange Confessor ended up clicking with with me, but it did. - Aye Tunes


"Free For All - Fay Wrays"

Times are tough out there, and for many of us buying music has become quite an indulgence (albeit a necessary one). Happily, there are some lovely musician folk out there that have offered up some fruits of their labors to the masses, free of charge. Free For All celebrate these wonderful people, and you, dear reader types.

Perhaps the holidays have you feeling a little less than joyful. Instead of stuffing stockings, say, you feel more inclined to ram them down familial throats or pelt various family members with supersized lumps of coal. In this case, might I suggest checking out the delightful darkness of Fresno's Fay Wrays? Their (free free free) LP, Strange Confessor, is comprised of nine songs filled with grinding, volatile and visceral post-punk angst with an occasionally cheeky sense of humor (i.e. songs like "When We Storm The Gates We Sing This Song" and "San Francisco (in) General") and a whole lot of spite and malice. The more I listen to Fay Wrays, the more I think I like them. So give in to those mean holiday reds and and spend some quality time in the company of Fay Wrays.
- Fuzzy Logic


"Fay Wrays - Strange Confessor"

Every now and then I come across an album that I jokingly refer to as an “experience.” But in the case of post-rock outfit Fay Wrays and their cryptic full length Strange Confessor, I’m only half joking. While the auditory aspect of the album presents an interesting and original linear series of songs, the physical delivery makes an unforgettable impact.

Arriving in an orange, legal sized envelope entitled “dossier,” the unpacking process was as mystifying as it was initially confusing. Reaching my hand in revealed a sprawling array of heavily stylized, artifacts ranging from artistic to outright cultish. Surrounding by a host of laminated pictures evidencing a murder scene, a picture of actress and namesake Fay Wrays, and a card bearing the image of The Virgin Mary (which also plays hosts to the album’s credits on the reverse side), lies a full sized, coffee stained transcript entitled “a treatise on the human interaction with THE SOUND.” The two-paragraph essay reads like a missionary’s conversion speech, demanding an almost spiritual connection and experiential embrace of this omnipresent entity referred to only as “THE SOUND.” Even the track listing is presented like verse titles in a biblical text. It’s quite a mindful to say the least, but taken as the somewhat disorienting experience it is, it gets a lot of things right.

Part Manchester Orchestra, part Brand New, part Joy Division, and clearly influenced by the likes of La Dispute and company, Fay Wrays is an unpredictable escape from the confines of structure. A steady buzz of electronics is made clear right from the warping guitar distortion on opener “When We Storm The Gate We Sing This Song.” Strange Confessor projects a strong sense of pacing evident in the targeted introduction and gradual cresting of chirping melodic pulses of “Paper Tiger Meets The Straw Man.” Vocalist Whitney Freeman (or is it “Ben McEntee” as stated on the website?) sounds like he’s laying it all on the line with his pseudo spoken word style. His instability matches the dissonant nature of the whole affair – feeling oddly at home, like a psych patient in this ward. On the guitar cruncher “THE SOUND is a Little Different in My Head” in particular, Freeman’s paranoid, single phrased insistence that “it’s a little different in my head” gets under your skin, making me want to know more. That the mood caries over for the eight minute instrumental “San Francisco (in) General” and continues mining the depth of your brain like one of Pink Floid’s brain bending trips only further speaks to the creative follow through inherent in each of Strange Confessor’s nine tracks.

Dare I say that Fay Wrays has recreated and clarified the confusing nature of their dossier without ever offering clear resolve? Like an art house indie film heavy on inquiry and light on answers, all this intrigue unfolds in their favour. It’s the type of production that an audience can internalize beyond formal conclusion. Strange Confessor is radically experimental and the payoff is clear. While not a perfect release (songs like “she gave me a compass” tend to get lost in the sea of continuity), Fay Wrays overcomes their new band shortcomings by offering something barely comparable and altogether unique. - The Punk Site


"MP3: Fay Wrays' Weatherman"

First off there is a band called The Fay Wrays, they are from London, they are not the same band as Fay Wrays from Fresno. They are both named after the famous King Kong actress Fay Wray. At least I assume that they are. That would be a really strange coincidence if they weren't right? But the point I am trying to make is that it's proving difficult to find a good picture of the Fresno dudes, so I just went with the topless and paistied Fray Wray, because I can do whatever I want.

Fay Wrays from Fresno CA pretty much fucking rock. They sent me a song called "Weatherman" that you can download gratas or just play over and over again in the player below. It comes from their album Mata Hari (Jax Art) that you can get via iTunes HERE. I am going to work on getting them out to Phoenix because I want to see them live. They are probably good live right? It only makes sense. - Electric Mustache


"Record Review: Fay Wrays- Mata Hari"

Out of the barren desert of Fresno, Calif., comes forth a three piece proclaiming the good news - a message of chainsaw guitar buzz and piston-pumping skins.

A voice cries out, "Have you heard the word?" And if your answer to Fay Wrays' howler Ben McEntee is, "No, I have not," then lucky you.

Because here it is, loud and clear.

A swaggering, lunging call to arms, "The Word" - the sixth song on DIY outfit the Fay Wrays' debut Mata Hari - draws a line in the sand, a black and white divide of what hardcore is and what it can be.

What it can be, it turns out, is a violent but melodic concoction of rhythmic grooves, distorted riffing and brainy anecdotes. You were expecting ear-piercing screams? No worries. They are many.

A 42-minute, eight-song rush of adrenaline and ear bleed, Mata Hari thrives on the tight interplay of the musical powers on display: McEntee's barrage of heavy chords, Paul Harper's thudding bass lines and, binding it all together, Eli Reyes' force-of-god drumming.

Album opener "Transubstantiate the Sound" is at once the most immediate and least indicative of the record's compositions. It harnesses the lean forward momentum of Queens of the Stone Age's no-let-up Nick Oliveri screamers, but contains little of the nuanced instrumentation present in everything that follows.

That said, the squealing feedback dripping off McEntee's building chord progression in the bridge is the kind of thought-out subtlety that sets the Fays apart from their amp-blowing brethren. They produce noise aplenty, but not a wasted sound.

More representative, "Broken Wings," a highpoint on an album of highpoints, begins with thump-tat-tat percussion and a nimbly picked six-string dressed up all bright and poppy.

Just as you put your finger on the influence - yeah, sounds like Fugazi, maybe Shellac - a wall of punishing discord takes a sledgehammer to said influence and the very thought process that brought you to this conclusion. Likewise, "Weatherman's" bouncing melody and catchy refrains surrender to bracing shrieks and fuzzed-out guitar squall. McEntee growls a paranoid mantra - "to eat your young" - in lockstep with deck-clearing staccato riffs...and then simply goes off.

He wails the climactic chorus a la "Bulls on Parade" amidst a wall of hell-breaks-loose guitar clatter.

In moments such as these, to break stuff is to be human.

"That angry, crushing sounding guitar - I like the mood it sets," says Chad Darby, bassist for Gainesville, Fla. shoegazers Averkiou. "The energy is there. They're ripping heads off right out of the gate."

Yet in this ferocity, a coherent pattern emerges, as it does with the rest of Mata Hari. Spry, clean notes give way to pounding power chords. Pretty, high-pitched passages yield to gutter-lurking, minor chords. Loud, aggressive verses dovetail into louder, more aggressive choruses. These deliberate ebbs and flows attest to the band's knack for structure and innate feel for how to exact maximal impact from both song and album.

"Lozenge," for one, stands out in both its internal arrangement and its integral effect on the record as a whole. On its own, the song is an understated "ballad" - if such a thing could exist with the Fays - that inevitably builds into a charging epic of a rocker. Thoughtfully positioned after a mauling opening trio, "Lozenge's" quieter half offers the lone breather on the album and as such, adequately replicates the gasping seconds after being popped in the lower sternum.

The same is true of "Scottish Lad," which plays a hushed, starkly adorned first verse against the weightiest havoc this side of a falling house. Harper plays a chugging, sub-Sabbath bass that lays a rumbling undercurrent for hissing guitar spasms and Reyes' splashing hi-hats. It's all absolutely disorientating, deafening and glorious - like being trapped in a terrible fun house or slung headlong into a howling funnel cloud.

The music's raw authority, of course, matches the attack-mode fervor of its creators. The Fays adhere to a rigid, do-it-yourself doctrine cultivated from a few well-spent years blowing the doors off of sweaty clubs and dank basements. So it's of little surprise that their conviction - conviction to "the word" - comes through in the sinister derision of "Risk" and visceral declarations of "This Song's About Brotherly Love."

"They pass that intangible 'are you full of it or not' test," says Dave Drobach, bassist for Gainesville's Grabass Charlestons and production manager at No Idea Records. "I believe that they believe it."

And when McEntee lets loose a yowling, "Take the time to understand me!" during Mata Hari's final brutal minutes, you suspect that the Fays not only believe it, but they might just win a few converts to their cause. - Performer Magazine


"Album Review: Fay Wrays- Mata Hari"

A screaming collision of frothing guitars, moody atmospherics and throat-peeling screams, the Fay Wrays’ debut record, Mata Hari, is one sustained, headlong howl of catchy postpunk. With bands like Fugazi, …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, and Comets on Fire obviously taking up a good chunk of memory in the band’s collective iPod, the Fay Wrays offer a collection of songs bristling with a nervous, angry energy, from the percussive jitters and barbed hooks of “Weatherman” to the epic guitar swoons of “Risk” to the monolithic slither and swagger of the nearly nine-minute album closer, “Scottish Lad.” Not exactly easy listening, but awfully hard to ignore. - WebInFront.net


"Ears Wide Open"

Meanwhile, Reyes also drums for the trio the Fay Wrays, who make indie-rock the old-school way — raw, a bit pissed off, calculatedly discordant and dripping with sweat. Singer-guitarist Ben McEntee and bassist paul Albert Harper round out the threesome. Their album “Mata Hari” came out late last year on JAXART Records, and fans of black-and-blue hardcore will want to bruise bodies to this one. - Buzzbands.LA


Discography

Mata Hari- 2009 JAXart records. Available on ITunes, Emusic, Amazon, and Rapsody.

Strange Confessor- 2011 Coattrack records. Available via Bandcamp, and Coattrack site.

Photos

Bio

Formed in the incubating heat and virtually nonexistent hustle and bustle of central California as veterans in a local music scene that is more Myth of Sisyphus than The Little Engine That Could, Fay Wrays have been producing their astringent rock and roll that straddles the imaginary fence between heavy dissonant postpunk and stark atmospheric indie dirge in dive bars and clubs since somewhere in 2006. At times a potent two piece, others, a schizophrenic three, the Wrays bring "Possessed riffing" and "a cyclonic limb-storm of flailing arms and fire-squad worthy fills" (performermag.com) to their live performances that hinge on an unabashedly loud, louder, loudest mentality that screams self effacement rather than self indulgence, as in, "Where is this coming from? Where are they at? Dear God, who is making this derisive cacophony?" But you cannot see anyone. No one is there. There is only the SOUND.

"Many have questioned where the SOUND has come from: a distant planet? Under the rubble of some lost civilization? Or is it something more sinister, something less tangible.

In the beginning was the SOUND and it was good. The SOUND traversed the terrestrial plain until it came upon fertile soil, that of two youths. Once there, the SOUND transcribed itself on their hearts and minds. Then, it waited. Lying dormant, until 2006 when the SOUND became flesh. Like the JFK assassination or that first drag of a cigarette, those who hear the SOUND for the first time remember exactly where they were, who they were with, the temperature of the pavement under their feet, and that reverberation in their ears that flowed like wavelengths to their souls. It is not always pleasant but it is a necessity, all must at one time or another hear the SOUND.

In 2009, amidst the sweltering heat and dripping sweat of a blitzkrieg summer, the SOUND sent a beacon out into the atmosphere. It came to a violent rest in the heart and soul of a young man in Redding, California, who heeded the call of the SOUND and soon began to commiserate with the two youths, who were now young men. The SOUND brought together this triumvirate for the glory of the SOUND alone. The triumvirate that is Fay Wrays simply transubstantiates the SOUND through vacuum tubes, transducers, clanging symbols, snare drums, and toms.

The SOUND was encoded in 2009 with the full length release of Mata Hari, a modest effort that attempted to take a blistering live set and place it squarely into the ear canals of anyone with a pulse and a willing desire to be strapped to an ear trumpet during the later years of their lives. Released by JAXart Records in Los Angeles the digital only release garnered a spattering of praise in the blogosphere and a small host of fans who, in their own way, gave their souls to the SOUND as every second ticked on their stereo display, but that was all to be expected (The SOUND had foreseen it). The SOUND has been described as "a screaming collision of frothing guitars, moody atmospherics and throat-peeling screams, (it) is one sustained, headlong howl of catchy postpone... Not exactly easy listening, but awfully hard to ignore." (Webinfront.net), while others simply describe it by name alone.

Fay Wrays continue on their path to synthesize the SOUND for the greater good. The SOUND will not, it cannot be repudiated; it is only a matter of time.