Ray Garrison - Ray Garrison EP
Record Label: None
Release Date: November 2007
The future of Southern power pop music may very well be in the delicate and capable hands of 18-year-old Ray Garrison. Along with three bandmates, none of which are a day over 18, Garrison released a four-song EP independently last November that has all the hallmarks of Billboard success. While his vocals leave a bit to be desired, they are presented alongside a wash of bristling guitars, pulsating drums, and a drilling base that hit with the same power as power-pop icons like Jason Falkner and Matthew Sweet. There isn't much in the way of lyrics, but considering the songwriter is just a teenager and the band formed just two months ago, it's par for the course. Then again it almost feels as if Garrison has put less of an emphasis on his words and more of an emphasis on his music.
While the EP will certainly be passed off in many media circles, it's hard to believe he'd be passed over here at AP.net. These are songs drenched heavily in modern rock sensibilities and power pop. Though the band presents themselves as pop punk there's very little pop punk about this band. The music comes across as cerebral, visceral, and hard charging. With catchy hooks and singalong choruses the pop element is certainly there. Moreover, the quartet even proves their versatility in the acoustic-based swirl of ballad "Come Home." It'd be easy to dismiss this band and not take them seriously because of their youth, but with crisply produced songs and enough ear candy to make the average radio lover swoon, there's little to knock Ray Garrison for, except of course the name. Is it a solo project or is it a band? I guess in the end it doesn't matter - good music is good music.