Saddle Creek | Azure Ray | Reviews


Azure Ray – November EP

01/01/1999 | Delusions of Adequacy | | Album Review
File Under - Slow, somber acoustic beauty via dual female vocals and guitar
RIYL - The Softies, Ida, Elliot Smith, Nick Drake's "Pink Moon"
From the label that has brought you such renowned acts as The Faint and Bright Eyes comes a relatively unknown band called Azure Ray. The story goes something like this: Connor Oberst of Bright Eyes fame had befriended Orenda Fink & Maria Taylor (of the band Now it's Overhead) on a recent tour in Athens. Supposedly, the two had given Connor a copy of their new demo as a gesture of friendship. Connor was instantly blown away at the beautiful vocal melodies the two created. Feeling the need to get these two talented gals more exposure, he eventually passed along the demo to Saddle Creek Records. The duo was then given the opportunity to open on tour with Connor/Bright Eyes. In time, a record deal emerged, and the November EP was released in January. The rest shall we say is history.
Azure Ray's sound is very much likened to another great female indie band with a similar formula called The Softies, who had released many records on the now famous K Records. Their music is also relatively comparable to a couple of songs by Ida, but Azure Ray's sound never really achieves the exact dynamics that made Ida such a unique band. Instead, Azure Ray concern themselves with keeping a very mellow, sleepy mood in their songs. It's music to put on in the company of your significant other on those sleepless nights when all you can do is stare into each others' eyes.
Orenda and Maria use a relatively simplistic formula (i.e. soft, quiet acoustic guitar strumming with occasional broken chords), putting most of their effort into their passionate vocals. At times it feels like the soft somber words are being sung directly to a new-born baby with an attempt at lulling his or her tears into deep sleep. The lyrics are of pure melancholy and mostly consisting of personal experiences with relationships. Case in point, the title track, with lyrics like: "So I'm waiting for this test to end, so these lighter days can soon begin. I'll be alone but maybe more care free like a kite that floats so effortlessly. I was afraid to be alone, now I'm scared that's how I'd like to be." Adding to beautiful melody is cellist Kera Schaley (played on Nirvana's In Utero) who plays a more than somber accompaniment. The remaining tracks follow in a similar fashion.
I encourage you pick up the November EP and to join the band on their sometimes painful sometimes pleasant cathartic journey of life-long experiences.