The BellRays

Raw Collection

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Raw Collection is an odds 'n' sods collection that gathers up random BellRays vinyl and comp tracks from 1995 through 2002. It ranges from the street-level soul of "You're Sorry Now" to a fabulously dirty cover of the Saints' "Nights in Venice," and that's only the first two tracks! Elsewhere, Raw rocks with "Pinball City," which contains the classic lines "Burning up the rubber on my BMX/I can hear the quarter fallin' through the slot." The BellRays' genius is in their utter lack of pretension. They might know that their cross-breeding of soul and punk is not necessarily original, and at times can be a little amateurish. But since when has this music asked for anything more than a backbeat, bassline, and some catch phrases to sing or shout along to? This is what vocalist Lisa Kekaula and bassist/principal songwriter Bob Vennum understand. And besides, there's a sense of humor here, too. The funky stroll of "Mother Pinball" -- with its chorus of "Do the pinball, baby!" -- falls right next to the punk kid anthem "Pinball City." When it's all said and done, don't get any ideas that it's okay to bad mouth the BellRays. One listen to the tweeter-ripping screed "Say What You Mean" will kill off that vibe toot suite. It features some of Kekaula's best Tina Turner meets Joan Jett vocalisms, there are some classic "hey! hey!"s in the echoing background, and the absolutely ripping guitar riff is overdriven to cardiac arrest levels. When everything drops out and Kekaula screams, "Getting mighty tired of lookin' for something," that's when most listeners will realize what they've just found, and start trying to grow an afro to accessorize the motorcycle jacket.

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