Azure Ray Drawing Down the Moon(Saddle Creek) Buy it from Insound
There’s no worse circumstance than following a passionless route that may lead the rest of your life. In the beginning of the last decade, when Azure Ray rolled out three albums in scarcely three years, it seemed as if the Alabama duo would consistently soundtrack plenty of long drives home. And just like that, they faded into memory. Just as naturalistic as the music implies, the duo drifted into individual projects but never got to capture the essence both brought together as a unit. At the time, it proved to be the right choice.
Seven years after their separation, Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor haven’t aged one bit since Hold on Love waved a temporary goodbye. They remain unchanged, channeling the same heartfelt stories concerning frail beings and sorrowful misfortune. Even the overall production sounds habitual, especially when the songs teeter between classical folk arrangements and the occasional programmed instrumentation. Fortunately, the duo wholly covers their biggest strength: those delicately tuneful vocal harmonies bring to life their vivid lyrical themes with just the right amount of sentiment. As Drawing Down the Moon flows around its mournful setting, the duo does vary on occasion by picking up the pace with more upbeat acoustic touches and country-tinged angst. Even though, an overall orchestral wash of strings and piano keys do make their presence known to give their downcast disposition an extra added oomph.
After thoroughly exploring Drawing the Down the Moon, it becomes a bit clearer why Azure Ray decided to give it a second shot. Their resurgence isn’t meant to be a return from hiatus or a new beginning. Rather, their name was always meant to exist, seizing the opportunity to come back when their hearts linked together to the project. They do rest a bit comfortably on what they do right, circumventing the idea of exploring new territory. This is, of course, a curse and a blessing. In presence or not, Azure Ray’s stark simplicity will always remain intact.27 November, 2010 - 22:55 — Juan Edgardo Rodriguez