Drawing Down the Moon
Azure Ray, Drawing Down the Moon (Saddle Creek) — The question: Is the sum better than its parts? When Azure Ray split up all those years ago, we thought we'd get twice as much goodness as when they were together. Instead, we were treated to some hit-and-miss releases that allowed the girls to experiment with some things they wouldn't have tried together. Now they're back, and they've brought the best of their separate experiences along with some interesting electronics. Both dabbled with beats (none moreso than Fink's O+S), and those clicks and pops have given us one of the more upbeat AR albums in their catalog. Even more noticeable is Eric Bachmann's production and arrangements, especially on those rollicking guitar-picking numbers ("Shouldn't Have Loved," "Make Your Heart."). But in the end, it still comes down to the same soothing, whispering harmonies that defined them from the beginning. The underlying theme: Just getting by, with or without someone else's heart alongside theirs (Though they'd surely prefer the former. And who, other than Kasher, wouldn't?). And if you know their personal back stories, it's fun to try to connect the dots, whether they're singing about familiar old (and current) boyfriends or not.
LP / Deluxe LP / CD / MP3