Azure Ray is a female duo from Athens, GA whose members also spend time in Japancakes and Little Red Rocket. For the record, Azure Ray bears little to no resemblance to either of those bands. The closest reference points would have to be K Records’ Mirah — who can be both overly sweet and incredibly heartbreaking simultaneously — or maybe Hope Sandoval. The two women, Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor, are joined by their lone labelmate, Eric Bachmann (Crooked Fingers), and their label owner, Brian Causey, who adds tape loops, piano, lap steel, and saxophone atop the band’s sparse guitar and vocal work. Causey even kicks it on the optigan on “Don’t Make a Sound.” The background noises, combined with the voices of Fink and Taylor, are what make Azure Ray click. The vocals are hushed, rarely swelling to any sort of emotional climax — somewhat like Low, but evoking a very different mood. The focus here seems to be on the enunciation of the lyrics, which is carefully precise, particularly on tracks like “Sleep” and “4th Of July,” the bona-fide college radio hit, mainly because it’s one of the few songs on the album with a beat. Azure Ray will either lull you to a gentle, fulfilling sleep or make you fall in love with them and leave you wishing that there were more than 11 tracks on their CD.
Warm, PO Box 1423, Athens, GA 30603