Author: Doug Freeman
03/20/2009 | Austin Chronicle | www.austinchronicle.com | Live Show Preview
Pairing Azure Ray's Orenda Fink with Remy Zero's Scalpelist (Cedric Lemoyne), O+S' debut intertwines their styles into shoegaze folk. Scalpelist's looped beats propel the songs with trip-hop force, anchored by Fink's monochromatic melancholy. Openers "New Life" and "Permanent Scar" achieve the most compelling balance, the latter unloading scuzzed electric rhythms and layered samples into a mesmerizing patchwork, while the field recordings backgrounded in "We Do What We Want To" accentuate the disembodied feel of unfolding soundscapes. The mellow lilt of "The Fox" turns the album more toward Fink's haunted heartbreak, which drowns much of the disc's backside. "Survive Love" and "My Friend" drip with the beautiful but intensely suffocating disillusion that marked Azure Ray and through which even the beats can't break. Where his samples fade, Scalpelist's low harmony on piano closer "Lonely Ghosts" succeeds, achieving the perfect counter to Fink's breathy bitterness.