Inspired by C-86-style indie pop, classic singer/songwriters like Todd Rundgren, and light, folky psychedelia, the North London indie pop trio Girl Ray formed while still in school. After releasing a few promising singles, they signed a recording contract, graduated high school, and soon after, released their debut album, 2018’s Earl Grey.
Getting together over a school holiday, guitarist/vocalist Poppy Hankin and drummer Iris McConnell started writing songs together, but the band only took shape when bassist Sophie Moss joined up. The trio recorded their first single, “Ghosty,” while doing their A Levels. Another single, “I’ll Make This Fun,” followed; then Girl Ray signed to Moshi Moshi. They recorded their first single for the label, “Trouble,” on what would have been their last day of school; it was released in late 2016. The band played shows all around the U.K., covered the Waitresses’ “Christmas Wrapping” at holiday time, and began working on an album. With input from friend Mike O’Malley, who served as the group’s live guitarist at many gigs, they spent two weeks in Big Jelly Studios in Ramsgate laying down the songs that would be featured on their debut. After releasing a couple songs from the sessions (“Stupid Things,” “Preacher”) as teasers, the harmony-filled Earl Grey came out in mid-2017. Girl Ray then set off on their first headlining tour of the U.K., and in early 2018 released the single “The Way We Came Back.”