Album of the Week: VanRays' big sound deserves a larger stage

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      The VanRays
      The VanRays

      All we want to know is this: where in Vancouver do the VanRays play gigs? It’s a pertinent question given that the band is an eight-piece complete with an organist and a trombone player. Hell, in this city a trio is lucky to find a venue with a stage big enough for everyone. Anyhow, the photos on the VanRays’ website make it clear that the answer to the above question is “LanaLou’s”, and that at no point are all eight members on the stage at the same time.

      The fully fleshed sound of the band’s four-song debut EP explains why the group has so many members—who include veterans of local acts such as Swank and the Beladeans. The VanRays blend rock with brassy R&B, and while the band’s bio makes allusions to Otis Redding and James Brown, “Hey Barcelona” sounds more like Blood, Sweat & Tears jamming with the Seeds. Elsewhere, “Need Money” is the sound of a garage-soul act blasting out the soundtrack to a ’60s spy flick.

      Get these guys a bigger stage!