After Azure Ray went on hiatus in 2004, Orenda Fink, one half of the beloved Omaha-via-Athens duo, put her energies into a solo record. In 2005, she released Invisible Ones, an under-the-radar but critically-acclaimed debut album.
Through the Invisible Ones touring cycle, Orenda assembled several different touring bands with revolving members, along the way making profound musical and personal friendships with her bandmates. With a little astrological nudge and some serendipitous circumstances, Orenda decided to form a new band using the cream of the crop of her touring crew: keyboardist/vocalist Adrianne Verhoeven (The Anniversary, Fourth of July), keyboardist Dan McCarthy (Mayday, McCarthy Trenching), guitarist Steve Bartolomei (Mal Madrigal, Mayday), bassist Ryan Fox (The Good Life) and drummer Corey Broman (Little Brazil, Son, Ambulance). The band they formed was called Art Belle. Fearing the wrath of paranoid radio listeners "West of the Rockies" (in addition to fearing litigation), the band shortly changed its name to Art in Manila, a nod to radio host Art Bell's exodus to the Phillipines.
At times, Art in Manila travels the lush path set forth by Orenda's previous work, however, it is here subsumed with edge and backbone. The band flirts playfully with genre wanderlust without ever abandoning cohesion. Moody slow-burners follow four-to-the-floor rockers which butt up against serene ballads. Orenda and company have deviated from their collective musical past without forsaking it, and in the process have conjured a powerful debut record, Set the Woods on Fire.