Saddle Creek | Azure Ray | Reviews


Hold On Love

Author: Todd Berry
01/15/2004 | | | Album Review
Every now and again a record comes along that catapults a band from relative obscurity into the limelight. Hold On Love is just such a record: it is awe-inspiring, insidiously infective, and beginning-to-end brilliant.

Now part of the much hyped Saddle Creek crowd, this is Azure Ray's second release from the Omaha based label. In the time since their previous EP, November, Bright Eyes, The Faint, and Cursive have brought the label to national attention with ground breaking releases, placing an extremely unfair expectation on Azure Ray to deliver a remarkable album; and deliver they did, with possibly the best Creek release to date.

The darkness and empathetic depression that the indie scene demands is present on this record, but more importantly there is an emphasis on creating strong, beautiful, and driven rhythms, and a playful, folkloric lyric feel. Unlike most musicians of the modern age, Azure Ray have not forgotten how to weave a beautiful metaphor, an entire story, as opposed to the "if/then" one line allusions of their peers. At once comfortable and exciting, the album opens with a short, piano led parable, which leads comfortably into the morosely energetic "New Resolution", which utilizes electronica, folky instrumentation, and rhapsodic vocal harmonies in a weaving, catchy, rhythmic masterpiece. From there the album just grows; it creates soundscapes which inspire emotional memory and awe.

There is a familiarity in this record, a warmth that you can't quite place. Yes there are definite reflective influences; Bright Eyes and Tori Amos leap immediately to mind. Yet there is something very distinct and genuine in this album, it has a style all its own. I am honestly hard pressed to pick a highlight, as it is truly a highlight in and of itself.
Hold On Love

Hold On Love

LP / CD / MP3