Saddle Creek | Azure Ray | Reviews


Hold On Love

Author: Teri McIntyre
11/06/2004 | | | Album Review
Tracks on Repeat Play
If You Fall
New Resolution
We Are Mice

Signature Sound
Dreamy and repetitiously hypnotic compositions of simple rhythms and clever lyrics centered around delicate vocal representations and incantations

Sample Lyrics
just hold on love / even when i scream and fight / even when i scream i don't love you / just hold on tight

Final Verdict
Azure Ray's Hold On Love is not the album for anyone looking to have a little fun and be merry. This is an album to put on when you want to wallow in your misery and take solace in your emotional scars. This is because it is the type of music that makes you feel okay for being sad and taking time out for yourself. And in this respect, Azure Ray's music is quite uniquely comforting as it provides the perfect atmosphere for acknowledging your gloom and trying to get past it. Its ability to dig into the dark and reverse it back to the light is quite crafty and indicative of incredibly astute songwriters.

Azure Ray has their detractors and supporters, those who look upon their music as being cathartic and those who see it as being pessimistically indulgent. It really depends on your perspective at the point of listening that will determine what side of the argument you will fall on. With Hold On Love, the track list seems designed to address both groups, with more optimistic and upbeat songs tied together with the more wimping miserable ones.

Take the juxtaposition of "If You Fall" and "Across The Ocean." The former is a jaunty little number that has a 1960s throwback vibe perfect for putting a bounce in your step and making you nod your head back and forth. The latter is slow and border line mopey, capable of making you feeling even lower with just a couple notes. Both songs traverse similar lyrical terrain (love and all its follies) yet they elicit very different emotional reactions.

"Dragon Fly" has a slight Asian percussive feel that gives it an imperial majesty and cool confidence. "Look To Me" has an eery sense of foreboding enhanced by the conflicting haze of wishing and hopelessness threaded through the lyrics. "The Devil's Feet" is a simple piano composition that builds ever so slowly and evenly as drums and electronic sounds invade the rhythm.

The album ends with the stellar title track which rolls around in a beautiful optimism. It leaves you feeling completely, well, complete. That you have arrived at the end of a journey intact and ready to deal with whatever you face.

What have not been discussed yet are the vocal talents of Azure Ray. The combination of Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor is simply marvelous in terms of auditory pleasure. Their slow and steady vocal representations of their pondering lyrics lend a richness and additional layer of complexity to their music. They make you feel less alone by drawing you subtly into their melodic rhythms and neatly rendered song stories.

Overall, there is a sleepy, hazy repetition to Hold On Love that can lull you into complete musical submission if you let it. So much so that the album is over, and repeat play button pushed before you even realize what has happened. The songs are full of airiness and appeal that seems mechanical based on the simple song structures and yet completely organic at the same time. Azure Ray has composed an album that is resplendent in dreamy contemplation and plaintiveness that maintains a safe distance from the listener. Hold On Love is all about what the individual listener can make of it rather than what it can make of the listener.
Hold On Love

Hold On Love

LP / CD / MP3