Billboard Critics Top 10 Albums of 2008
Rhapsody Critics Top 50 Albums of 2008
In which musicians from the U.S., U.K., and Japan reinvent a rustic, sitar-spiced, and surprisingly catchy species of psychedelic folk-rock that Jefferson Airplane or the Shocking Blue might recognize, in the northern mountains of bassist Chakkapan Wattanapan's native nation Thailand. After opening with one of their most furious stomps, the cross-cultural combo proceed to lay back and make things sound easy. Though Marie Dance claims she's too lazy to love you but too lazy to break your heart, making your jangle this funky while keeping it spooky and gorgeous takes hard work--whether we see you sweat or not.
Bangkok 101 Magazine
Chiang Mai has long been one of the best places to watch live rock in Thailand, but original offerings are generally thin on the ground. Finally, there's something to write home about. The Tonic Rays, a local true-to-roots band has generated quite the following and an impressive original repertoire. Though it's hard to capture singer/guitarist Marie Dance s engaging enthusiasm on disk, not to mention veteran guitarist Joe Cummings cool laid-back swagger, their first and eponymous CD should please anyone with a yen towards edgy old-school yowling. Cumming's 'Too Lazy to Break Your Heart'--a sly, swinging rocker, and Dance's 'Sleep'--an infectious bouncing lullaby. are two of the standouts on this tangy, twangy ten-song compilation.
ABOUT THE TONIC RAYS
Take two singer/songwriter/guitarists - one from England, one from America - and throw them together with a Japanese drummer and Thai bassist, in the mountains of northern Thailand. Result: The Tonic Rays. Marie Dance does most of the singing, plays rhythm (and occasional lead) guitar and composes the T-Rays' chart-toppin' hits. Very brave, yet also sensitive, an intriguing combination of rough and delicate, naughty and angelic. Joe Cummings plays lead guitar, sings harmonies and occasional lead, and also writes songs for the band. Freelance writing is his day gig but making guitars feed back in front of a packed house is his life passion. Sun Ray the bassist is a tall, shy hippie with torn jeans who, when you finally get to know him (and it takes a long time, even if you speak Thai), will surprise you with his intelligence and his detailed knowledge of classic rock history. Drummer Mark Iwamoto hails from Tokyo but has spent a lot of time in the USA and now Thailand. Grounded in rock, but with interests in Latin and African percussion, he was an early regular at the Mt Fuji Rock Festival. The Tonic Rays' major inspiration is the new rock renaissance, that is, doing what you can with two guitars, bass and drums.
AMAZON.COM REVIEWS OF THE TONIC RAYS
Like Great 60s Bands
I hear strains of The Jefferson Airplane and Fleetwood Mac after Christine McVie joined. Joe Cummings' singing and guitar also remind me of Lou Reed/Velvet Underground a bit. "Strangest Kind" and "Home" are excellent; I can't hear them enough. "Too Lazy to Break Your Heart" is laugh-out-loud ironic. Nice job, Tonic Rays! – Lawrence F. Nahlik, USA
My Kind of "Strangest Kind"
I first learned of The Tonic Rays a couple of years ago when they were playing honky-tonks around Southeast Asia and considering recording the songs the growing crowds were requesting over and over. This CD is as good as any indie production I have heard and, as far as I am concerned, worth the wait. The songs span the Ray's repertoire, with exceptional guitar work and solid drumming – Virginian Drums, USA
If you enjoy music, then your love this album, excellent drums, guitars, great bass, strong vocals, varied and exciting songs to blast over your music system. Wonderful lyrics, all originals, if you listen to music a must in your music collection. – Penelope A. Jenkins, UK
I love this CD. Super production - raw and edgy. Beautiful male and female harmonies playing off each other the whole way through. Rough at times, tender at others. Poignant. Fun. Funky. Favorite tracks: Home, Strangest Kind, Too Lazy to Break Your Heart, and especially the gut crunching journey through break-up - Icon. Five stars. – David Freyer, Thailand