Austin Band Moonray’s New Single “When You Are Around” Reviewed by Guest Writer Jack Charles

JUST WOW! Moonray, the synth-pop duo (and married for real couple) from Austin, TX. have a truly epic video for their When You Are Around single. The song is fun and playful like a good synth-pop tune should be. The vibe Barb and Jonray bring to it creates uplifting energy and it’s great to see them in action together.

When You Are Around has a retro 80’s synth-pop sound with some 21st-century magic, but I can also feel some great Kraftwerk influence. Jonray’s guitar ( which  BTW I’d love to hear a little more of ) brings a rock edge to the tune. This all adds up to cool and fun. 

Then there’s the video. It’s actually a short film. It begins with Moonray acting the part of special agents against the forces of darkness. But then they start bouncing into other worlds and dimensions. It’s part comic book, sci-film, and anime saga. Part live-action acting like animation, part actual animation.  Moonray tackles extraterrestrial aliens, gangsters, and zombies. This is such an ambitious project, and they made it happen. Just when you think their production dime is running out, “BAM” you’re in a completely new world. It’s fun, campy, and very entertaining. Isn’t that what pop is all about? It’s pop-art with a WOW

You can listen to this album on Spotify



Moonray – the Austin, TX group comprised of husband and wife duo, Barb and Jonray Higginbotham – is well-acquainted with the gleaming synthpop sound of the ’80s. Honeymoon, their dazzling new EP, is crammed to the corners with the propulsive new wave beats, close harmonies, singalong choruses, and monster hooks we all associate with the early days of MTV.

Yet Moonray is far more than a throwback. Their songs are compositionally inventive, their arrangements are audacious, and their records are decorated with dizzy synthesizer, driving guitar, and kinetic percussion. Their mixing engineer and co-producer – Eric “Mixerman” Sarafin – has been making hits for decades for acts as varied as Foreigner, The Pharcyde, the Brand New Heavies, and Hilary Duff, and he’s matched Moonray with a sound that amplifies the inspirational tone of their lyrics.

moonray-music.com • Instagram • FacebookYouTube

About the author

Jack Charles’ voice brings a layer of graveyard velvet to complete a sound that is a dark and personal tribute to rock and roll. Jack has a debt with music and has come to pay it in full, with his band Musical Partners In Crime. Their currency: The Ante Mortem Songbook, the singer/songwriter’s opera prima, whose songs, with an alternative retro-rock vibe, are varied in form and channel various influences like surf, R&B and post-punk.

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