Chicago Singles Club

September 2014

Bring Your Ray Gun

Dance-rock has a curious history as it fuses two genres that were once posed in vehement opposition: disco and rock. Disco emerged in the early 1970s in reaction to the overwhelming dominance of rock in popular music, the rejection of dance-oriented music in underground scenes, and the straight white men's club that rock music had become. As disco ascended the pop charts, the two cultures clashed in the mainstream (as evidenced locally by the disastrous Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey in 1979), though a few adventurous artists realized the potential of combining the two genres. Post-punk bands like Liquid Liquid, ESG, and Gang of Four took disco’s driving funk rhythms and soul influences and fused them with the aggression and angularity of punk. New Wave embraced its timbres and dance-friendly grooves. Ever since, the hybrid style has been present and evolving, most recently culminating in the dance-punk explosion in the early to mid 2000s. 

As with any other genre that fuses two distinct cultures, dance-rock opened up artists to a slew of new influences as is evidenced in Bring Your Ray Gun’s fun, raw, and dynamic songs. Will Wood’s guitar work jumps from funky comping to spacey, delay-saturated riffs to straight-ahead bombastic punk without skipping a beat. Heather Perry and Carlos Zapata easily rise to the challenge of the genre’s elevated role of drums and bass; their grooves are tight, neatly interwoven, and right at home on the dance floor. The world-influenced auxiliary percussion on Break it Off gives off the party vibe reminiscent of late 70s Marvin Gaye tracks while Heather’s spoken-word vocal counterpoint in What Will Become Of All This sounds like she may have time-traveled straight from an 80’s new wave show to whisper in your ear. Josh Lambert takes on the role of frontman and singer with aplomb - his vocal melodies are catchy and energetic, and his stage persona has all the cocky, brash, raw sexuality that you’d ever want from a lead singer. Synth lines and pads accentuate the densely packed arrangements. 

All of which is to say every Bring Your Ray Gun song is a party. And it’s a party you definitely don’t want to miss out on.

Bring Your Ray Gun is

Josh Lambert
Vocals / Percussion
Will Wood
Guitar
Heather Perry
Bass / Vocals
Carlos Zapata
Drums

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Contributors
  • Engineer Jeff Kelley
  • Production Manager Kevin Claxton
  • Photography Kerri Hacker
  • Videography / Interview Iris Lin
  • Video / Editing Cassie Balynas