Saddle Creek | Azure Ray | Reviews


Drawing Down the Moon

Author: Danielle Miess
10/21/2010 | | | Live Show Preview
"This is only a dream," Azure Ray sings on "Wake Up, Sleepyhead", the opener of Drawing Down the Moon. From the sound of the album, it just might be. The gorgeous mixture of a harp, piano and soft vocals from singers Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor create an album of 12 dreaming tracks of heartbreak, regret, loneliness and love. After an indefinite hiatus and several side projects later, seven years have passed since the last Azure Ray release. Although not perfect, the haunting lyrics and vocals of Drawing Down the Moon will resonate in the listener long after the first listen and remind Azure Ray fans what they love about this band.

The album begins, for the most part, flawlessly. "Wake up, Sleepyhead" is a short but poignant lullaby, and provides a perfect start to the rest of the album. The second track, and the first single, "Don't Leave My Mind", is a solid pop song that tells of losing a loved one to distance. Although repetitive at times, it is the most radio-friendly and will hopefully bring attention to the album. "In the Fog" shows off the haunting breathy vocals of the duo and the songwriting talent of Azure Ray resonates with equally haunting lyrics. As Azure Ray sings, "I see mists like ghosts/ over long these country roads/ they part their way for me/ As I search for my love," the songs becomes a display for some of Azure Ray's strongest work. Another highpoint of the album is "Larraine," blending a dynamic mix of haunting violins and heartbreaking vocals. The striking song holds a Western feel and tells a lyrical story of abuse and revenge: "Most of them I never knew/ but that is just as well/ Even as I cry for you/ I know they're all in hell/ Don't you know it was all for you, Larraine." Drawing Down the Moon is worth taking a listen to, if only for this song.

After the darkness of "Larraine," the album continues with a few softer songs, although it cannot match the consistency of Drawing's first half. "On and On Again" continues with violins and the dreamlike state that encompasses much of the album. The love song is peaceful without being lackluster. The album continues with "Silver Sorrow" and "Make Your Heart". Although these tunes score high lyrically and vocally, they are also very repetitive. Instead of encompassing the ethereal quality of the other songs, they're enough to put the listener to sleep. The album begins to redeem itself again with the sad tale, "Signs in the Leaves." As Azure Ray's own bio describes it, the song is about "giving up someone you love and then longing for them with your entire being." "Shouldn't Have Loved" is a tale of attaching oneself to a relationship that is at its end. Vocals and lyrics shine in this arresting story of sadness and brings another stellar track on the album. The album concludes with "Walking in Circles," a short song about reminiscing that ties the album up neatly.

At its best, Drawing Down the Moon is a beautiful album of haunting melodies and unforgettable stories that almost reach perfection on more than one occasion. However, filler takes up part of the album and makes a possibly great album simply good. Fortunately, the moments of beauty encompass the repetitive sound of some of this album, making this album well worth the wait.
Drawing Down the Moon

Drawing Down the Moon

LP / CD / MP3