The Lassie Foundation's El Ray EP builds on the beauty and wonder of their California EP and shows the band to be the true heir of the shoegaze sound. The six songs sound like they could have been recorded at the height of shoegaze; in fact, if they had been, the Lassie Foundation would have been regarded as champions of the scene. What makes them so great is the combination of an imaginative use of the wall-of-guitars sound, the otherworldly falsetto croon of Wayne Everett, and above all, the hooks. Tracks like "Promise Ring" and "I'm Stealin' to Be Your One in a Million" are up-tempo pop songs that would sound just as fine played on toy piano and cardboard boxes as they are bathed in atmospheric waves of blissful noise. "Crown of the Sea" is a mid-tempo melancholy weeper built from FXed guitars that would make Ride green from envy and is topped by vocals that sound like the fourth Wilson brother (or sister). "El Ray" is a moody ballad that features Everett's most gossamer vocals and also his earthiest vocals; the combination of the two makes the song work. The only problem with the disc is that it repeats two tracks from California ("Stealin' and the Cure-inspired "I Can Be Her Man") and that "El Ray" and "Crown of the Sea" turned up on the band's debut full-length album, the near-transcendent Pacifico. If you can find the El Ray EP, you should buy it regardless as it is a disc you will find yourself going back to as often as you do My Bloody Valentine EPs and most likely more than you go back to Chapterhouse or Catherine Wheel EPs.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra