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The Deathray Davies

Some will undoubtedly take umbrage at The Deathray Davies' sacrilegious appropriation of the King of the Kinks' given name, but they'll be missing out on the fact that the name is more homage than mockery. This great Dallas band's unique style takes the Kinks' ironic late '60s R&B inflected pop, mixes in some bright Beach Boys psychedelia, and injects a giant dose of '90s indie rock sensibilities.

The group is essentially comprised of multi-instrumentalist John Dufilho, who started the Deathrays to keep him occupied when he wasn't busy with his other band, the now-defunct Bedwetter. When a four-song demo, Drink with the Grown-Ups and Listen to the Jazz, landed him a spot at the 2000 South By Southwest music conference in Austin, he quickly assembled a live band featuring Bedwetter bandmate Jason Garner, Chomsky's Matt Kellum, and others. These musicians help him out on Deathray Davies first LP, Return of the Drunk Ventriloquist, though Dufilho still plays most of the instruments. It's strange, elliptical rock music, catchy in a backhanded sort of way, enjoyably weird but sometimes a bit disturbing. The bouncy guitar rocker "Jack Never Crashes" and the glib power pop number "Corrective Lenses" can each be found on Drunk Ventriloquist.

"Is This On?" is from the band's third album Day Of The Ray, which is actually the first Deathrays album for which the word "band" seems appropriate. Day Of The Ray features polished studio songs that are the result of a real six-piece band's endeavors. Leaving behind the experimental mindset which produced their last album Drunk Ventriloquist, the third album comes close to the high-end production work and '60s power pop stylings of their tour mates Superdrag.

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