Brooklyn-based band UV Rays share the video for “Existential Dread,” a track off their previously released EP, Try and Begin. The Deli exclusively premiered the video earlier this week, praising, “The track is from the band’s recently released debut EP Try and Begin and features beautifully intertwined electric guitars parts that play to the rhythm of a poised drum beat, and accent borderline jazzy pop choruses. The video is filled with extreme wide shots that show the band members playing their instruments, seemingly miniature to the huge backgrounds. The video’s simplicity is eye-catching and suits the track’s avant-pop vibe.” Their debut EP, Try and Begin, is out now. UV Rays is currently gearing up for the release of EP2, out this summer, and will be announcing local shows supporting the record soon.
On their debut EP Try and Begin, Brooklyn’s UV Rays are a band rejuvenated. While guitarist Adrien DeFontaine once served as the band’s principal songwriter, here he has invited his three bandmates to tackle lead vocals and songwriting duties as well. As a result, UV Rays have opened a floodgate of new perspectives and influences, embracing richly melodic pop music alongside their steadfast explorations of intricate, meter-shifting rock. “I wanted the songwriting to be a more democratic experience,” DeFontaine explains. “Early on, what people reacted to was seeing the four of us playing off each other live. That chemistry, and making something together that we couldn’t possibly do on our own, is what’s most exciting to me.” Try and Begin delivers big hooks alongside equally ambitious arrangements; it is as engaging as it is full of surprises.
Try and Begin is a drastic departure from UV Rays’ previous singles, both in style and intention. DeFontaine has long channeled the soaring vocals and complex instrumentation of contemporary Japanese rock bands like Tricot and The Cabs. But now those influences are tempered by, say, drummer Erica Warner’s love of Katy Perry’s stadium-sized melodies, or bassist Tim Marchetta-Wood’s adoration for the quirky arrangements of Deerhoof and Mitski. “It all filters into what we’re writing,” Marchetta-Wood points out.
Throughout the EP, these seemingly disparate sounds blend together effortlessly. On the celebratory lead single “Flowerhead,” for instance, Warner sings a huge pop chorus about being “comfortable enough with someone that you can be 100% your weirdest self in front of them,” but bookends it between restrained, elegantly winding verses and visceral blasts of staccato guitar and drums. Later, “Existential Dread,” sung by Marchetta-Wood, features intertwined guitar riffs in the vein of Television, courtesy of DeFontaine and guitarist Danny Sullivan; “Boys,” written by the full band, is a euphoric blast of unabashed pop-rock that works as a poignant foil for Warner’s biting commentary.
Nowhere is the band’s skill more apparent than in their ability to make abrupt jumps into atypical meters sound approachable and downright fun. Yet these twists and turns – like on the pogo-inducing adrenaline rush of “Man Enough” – never come at the expense of accessibility; DeFontaine likens the alternative to a Rube Goldberg machine or Wile E. Coyote’s absurd, unnecessary schemes. From these deft arrangements to unexpected gushes of sweet melody, UV Rays’ Try and Begin is overflowing with the fruits of true collaboration. Now, most importantly, as DeFontaine says, “everyone feels like this band is their own.” – Max Savage Levenson