Saddle Creek | Azure Ray | Reviews


Hold On Love

Author: Dave Chadwick
10/14/2003 | Decoy Music | | Album Review
Azure Ray, from Athens Georgia consists of two incredibly talented women: Maria Taylor and Orenda Fink. This is their true love, but they are also an important part of other successful bands. Maria plays piano, organ and does some vocals in Bright Eyes, Orenda plays trumpet and sings as well. Another great, yet underrated band they are both part of is called Now It's Overhead. I think experimenting with Now It's Overhead helped them take their music to new levels, and this definitely shows through on the new Azure Ray album. In particular, with the range of electronic beats and more upbeat music in general. I have been a big fan of them ever since the self titled CD in 2001, and have watched their musical evolution from the beginning. The first album is bleak and depressing, yet oddly soothing and beautiful piano/acoustic guitar music. The "November" EP shows the addition of more violins and other interesting instruments like steel drums leading to a more textured sound. I didn't like the last album, "Burn And Shiver" much, but there was a lot of experimenting on that album with more horns and electronic beats. This brings us to the new album, "Hold On Love", which I feel is the real culmination of Maria and Orenda's talents, and quickly becoming my favourite Azure Ray album.

The CD starts off with the soft piano song, "The Devil's Feet". This song is a story with an important moral about resisting the many alluring evils of the world and not letting them wear you down and change who you are. This serves as an introduction, because of course this is a great way to live, but it's also one of the hardest struggles a person can face. The rest of the album is a testament to the struggle, showing all the ways which life breaks you down, as well as inspiration to rise above it with integrity. An electronic beat comes in halfway through, immediately picking up the pace, allowing it to flow seamlessly into the next song, "New Resolution": Azure Ray's most electronic, and one of my favourite songs ever by them. The violins in this track also really help bring out emotion in almost anyone who hears it, and layered with the synthetic music, this song is totally groundbreaking for them and for indie music in general. The lyrics are about letting go of a relationship when it's bringing you down, and how hard it can be to put yourself first sometimes. The next song sounds a little more like conventional Azure Ray. "We Are Mice" is a dark, soothing piano song accompanied by a subtle distorted beat, with lyrics about feeling small and helpless in the world. My second favourite song is "If You Fall", an upbeat rock song that you will have stuck in your head for days. This tune really stands out, helping to mix up the music and keep it interesting. There's really something for many different fans of music. Fans of indie rock, electronic, jazz, even classical listeners can appreciate this album. For example, in "Nothing Like A Song" there are several Mozart influenced piano scales which would appeal to fans of classical music. This album is a real hidden gem, so pick it up at your local independent record store and hear for yourself.

Hold On Love

Hold On Love

LP / CD / MP3