Saddle Creek | Azure Ray | Reviews


Hold On Love

Author: Aaron Newton
10/07/2003 | Epitonic | | Album Review
All of us harbor memories of days long gone that hold an element of romance and leave us pining for simpler times. These little trinkets of nostalgia that we keep tucked away sneak up on us every now and then and get caught in the throat. They make us stop whatever mundane every-day thing we're up to and just revel in a moment that occurred years ago. And what triggers this is often something simple and unexpected; the smell of a passer-by's perfume, the color of the sky, or maybe a song.

Listening to Azure Ray it seems like they are intentially the soundtracks of these memories. There's sadness, a somber acceptance that what they sing of is unattainable. That what they sing of never was as good as we remember it now. There's a hint of something that's grander than it could have been and a moment of introspection that tell us that we're kidding ourselves and, well, fuck it, remember it that way anyway.

It's a rare thing to encounter something like this because it's so subtle. If it comes on too strong then it's just being kitchy and cashing in on the nostalgia. The only other band that comes to mind that does this as well is Crooked Fingers, and that's probably no coincidence.

Meet Orinda Fink and Maria Taylor, high school chums and partners in crime in many a musical endevour. Thier first was Little Red Rocket which they started whilst still in high school. They both migrated to Athens, GA for college and kept Little Red Rocket going for a while, releasing albums in '97 (before college) and 2000. When the band finally did split, Fink and Taylor kept working together, contributing to Eric Bachmann's Crooked Fingers albums.

After Athens they moved to Omaha, NE, home of Saddle Creek Records. They contributed to a few Bright Eyes records and also Now It's Overhead (both Saddle Creek label-mates) not to mention helping Moby with a track.

But these diversions are just the history. Their own work as Azure Ray is far more captivating a subject. Their debut album on Warm Records (self titled - 2001) and 2002's Burn and Shiver (again on Warm) served as an introduction to the meloncholy and grace of their music.

After these two the duo moved to Saddle Creek with an EP entitled November followed by Hold On Love, featured here.

Backing up the two on each release is what would seem to be the unofficial ghost of a third member of the band: Eric Bachmann. Arranging strings, playing guitar and piano (and who knows what else), producing, engineering, and just about everything but singing, Bachmann lends more than a helping hand to the sound and style of Azure Ray.

All this comes together to create a nice little escape from the drugeries of a day. Putting this record on makes one constantly think of the things of days past that the emotions the music conjures remind us we had forgotten.
Hold On Love

Hold On Love

LP / CD / MP3