Author: Peter D'Angelo
Azure Ray consists of Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor, two acoustic guitar playing singer songwriters who have also occupied spots in Japancakes, Bright Eyes, and Now It's Overhead. On their debut EP for Saddle Creek Records, the two Athens, GA based chanteuses create webs of melody and incredibly soothing emotional insights that drift about with the commanding lyrical presence usually attributed to musicians like Leonard Cohen or Townes Van Zandt (whose "For The Sake Of The Song" is given a positively beautiful rendering on the disc). Now It's Overhead bandmate Andy Lemaster produced the disc along with the girls, and the resulting six tracks are an overwhelming expulsion of ideas that are carried out with extreme delicacy that never rises above a whisper and still manages to scream its point across. Much like on their Eric Bachman produced debut LP, the tracks are drenched in moody atmospherics and haunting noises that compliment the impressive guitar work and the pair's truly amazing vocals. It's a rare find to discover such progressive work in this genre, (I'm tempted to see if anyone has coined the term post-folk yet) but the duo really does transform their subtle odes to heartbreak and pain into unforgettable and almost sinister sounding tracks that are continually resurrected by their heavenly inflections. Azure Ray put their ragged feelings out for display, but listening in on the disc is as involved and cathartic for the listener as it must have been for the songwriters. "November" is a spellbindingly beautiful disc, and while all six tracks make for a disparaging song cycle, the EP is still powerful enough to make you want to experience it over and over.