Saddle Creek | Azure Ray | Reviews



Author: Jeanette Samyn
01/21/2002 | Lost at Sea | | Album Review
I often forget how beautiful a woman's voice can be. I don't listen to a lot of female vocalists, a fact that I do not usually regret, as it is generally just not my thing. The times when I hear women like Orenda Find and Maria Taylor of Azure Ray sing, however, I think I might be missing out.

To put it simply, the duo's voices are mesmerizing. At times words seem engrained in the music, mingling perfectly on rhythm with the soothing
acoustic guitars, keyboards, and delicate percussion, while other times words seem to float angelically over all sound provoking an incredible and beautiful surrealism.

The duo's vocals are the focal point throughout November, and in the first three songs their dreamlike harmonies will have you finding it hard to wake up. Until half way through the six-song EP I sit next to my stereo, completely enthralled in the music and its bare beauty. Unfortunately, however, after the third track, all interest in November is lost. The songs misplace most of their intrigue and become a boring, leaving me aching for those first three. I'm not really sure how it happened; for the fourth song, "Just a Faint Line", Find and Taylor's voices become dull and are monotone for nearly the entire song. Instrumentally, nothing interesting is going on either. They use little more than sparse guitar and percussion, neither of which is doing anything out of the ordinary. They both allow the vocals to be the track's focal point, except when vocals are supposed to be the point
of interest, they should at least sound good.

More or less the same goes for the fifth song, "I Will Do These Things". It's the same basic idea as "Just a Faint Line" and the only obvious difference in structure is the addition of more noticeable keyboards. The sixth song gets a little better, but only towards the very end, and not so good as to change my opinion on the song as a whole. It starts off the same, with the uninteresting vocals and bare background music, but then gets better, harmonies becoming more interesting, reaching a peak when they join in the last forty seconds with the voices of the Lower Chase Street Mens Choir.

I sincerely hope Azure Ray's next release will have more songs that fit
along the lines of the first three tracks on this EP, because dull vocals and stripped-bare background music rarely make a good song.


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