And so our man from Akron returns. First Appearance develops and expands upon the curious and strangely familiar soundworld of 2017s Gabriel, with the Good Captain Schray luxuriating in those expansive, warm waters that one associates with new age, balearic, sophisti-pop, and art rock, adding to them potent distillations of his own concocting. There is a nostalgic component to this music to be sure, with echoes of Vini Reilly and The Blue Nile in the periphery, as well as forgotten 80s studio projects where the engineer decided it was important to elide the highs and lows to make a more comfortable space in the middle. But Schrays idiosyncrasies as a writer and player void any readymade comparisons. Rather, with him at the helm we get sonic gems such as the loping dub bass emerging from nowhere in the final act of the most excellently titled His Peculiar Livestreams and the metallic resonances and wide open spaces conjured in The Cruel Psychic, compositional sleights of hand that make First Appearance a record to play and replay in an effort to decode its odd and many mysteries.
- Alex Cobb, November 2018