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The Bell Rays

Grand Fury

Upper Cut

The first twenty seconds of Grand Fury are deceiving, if you're not familiar with The Bell Rays. Powerful jets of fuzz and thump emit from the speakers, highly energetic stuff in a melodic hardcore punk fashion. Good stuff, but hardly distinguishable from many other acts in this overstuffed genre.

Then vocalist Lisa Kekaula's voice kicks in. Instead of a raspy yell or majestic strangle, we get a full-blown R&B voice, belting it out more like Aretha than a belt sander. Kekaula's vocals and delivery elevate this record, dragging along what would have been somewhat clichéd riffs and attitude like a hurried mother with a dawdling child. The result is unstoppable and fresh -- witness the power of tracks like "Fire On The Moon" and "Stupid Fuckin' People." New fruit on an old tree, and it's ripe for the plucking.

Upper Cut Records, 4470 Sunset Blvd. #195, Los Angeles, CA 90027; http://www.uppercutrecords.com, http://www.thebellrays.com