The Cathode Ray. Heightened Senses.

The Ray’s return after almost five years with a strikingly close connection to The Pet Shop Boys on this, their third, album. Partly driven by the sound of their poptastic electronics, and partly by the delicacy of the basslines, the principle driving force of ‘Heightened senses’ is the singing/ narrating delivery style of vocalist Jeremy Thoms which branches us into the witty/intellectual Neil Tennant territory. Standouts ‘Love and death’ and ‘A difference of opinion’, both electronic tracks augmented by live instruments, shine in their ability to make happy sounding songs about difficult themes; both of which presenting the Ray’s as competent songwriters in the style of their influencers. A few near-misses (‘Days away’, ‘The past is a foreign land’) which aim high but fall short, put intellect before pop and suggest that the winning combination for the Rays is when they mix equal parts pop and art. PopArt; wasn’t that the name of the greatest hits of a certain dynamic duo?