There will be many people who remember THE RAYWELLS from an earlier incarnation. One that saw them credited for inspiring a generation of local musicians in Hull to pick up an instrument and form a band; an incarnation that saw THE RAYWELLS gain national exposure with regular appearances on BBC, ITV and Sky Television and BBC Radio; that saw them play sold out shows throughout the UK; and that saw the then four-piece return from a successful tour of California and take the decision to put the band on hold, to not only do their own thing, but to also explore the world.
Equally there will be those who will know THE RAYWELLS only as a new band which, to all intents and purposes, they are. Front man Lee Pedge, whose unique and extensive vocal range is something to behold, remains the one constant, having been a familiar figure on the Hull music scene throughout this hiatus, completing several solo projects and a Music Performance degree during that time.
After enlisting four fellow citizens of Hull, each of them accomplished and acclaimed musicians in their own right, Lee Pedge reformed THE RAYWELLS. Returning to the live circuit in 2016 with a successful acoustic tour supporting US singer songwriter Alan Merrill, they then played alongside The Pigeon Detectives, Reverend & The Makers and The Hoosiers earlier this year at the Tidal Waves Beach Festival, as part of the Hull City of Culture celebrations, and the Whitby Rising Festival, ahead of on appearance at the Cornucopia Festival in September.
Now the time has come to reveal their first release since reformation. The BLACK SUN EP, produced by the band’s drummer Mikey Scott, will be released on 18 August 2017 with an EP launch the previous night at the HULL NEW ADELPHI on THURSDAY 17 AUGUST.
The three tracks on the EP are musically bold and ambitious, not afraid to doff a cap to their influences – The Doors certainly, Led Zeppelin perhaps, improbably even The Cramps have been mentioned – but always maintaining a sound that could only be THE RAYWELLS. And part of the reason for this is that voice. A voice that has clearly been lived in; a voice that has known love and pain; that has known joy and despair; enlightenment and melancholy; but has come through to the other side still beautiful. Still passionate. And with its spirit burning as bright as ever.
This is genuine, from-the-heart music; music that lifts the listener whether they feel good beforehand or otherwise. AUTOPILOT powers along majestically with glorious keyboard-driven rhythms; while MY LITTLE RUNAWAY evokes dusty, road-movie theatrics with subtle hints of old school psychobilly thundering beneath. But it’s perhaps BLACK SUN that mostly shows THE RAYWELLS in all their glory. Launching with a haunting piano that eases into an orchestral arrangement – during which it wouldn’t be inconceivable to imagine a festival field illuminated at dusk with thousands of lighters aloft – the song breaks midway, almost as if Led Zeppelin themselves had walked in the room, and becomes a furious, life-affirming beast with guitars as sharp as razor wire. It may be difficult to imagine but it sounds even better live.
THE RAYWELLS have thankfully returned; clearly enthusiastic, authentic and, above all, passionate. They love what they do; they hope that you will love it as well.