Music Reviews

Azure Ray

Hold On Love

Saddle Creek

Azure Ray’s Hold On Love almost seems too good to have been put out on an indie record label, even one as high profile as Saddle Creek. By “good,” I mean polished, confident and, most notable, hype-friendly. The album is made up of moments that recall The Smashing Pumpkins’ most tender offerings: grandiose, but quiet, where dusty pickin’ and plunkin’ instruments rest side by side with respirator atmospherics.

The band takes these moments and turns them into whispers, as on “The Drinks We Drank Last Night,” where the inhalations between verses are actually louder than the lyrics themselves and the ambient backing music fades in and out like a beautiful afterthought. “The Devil’s Feet” is a revision of the devil at the crossroads tale set against insistent witching hour piano and arrhythmic heartbeats.

It’s a rare thing for me to be won over by an album so completely upon the first listen, but this one has done just that. Hold On Love is Azure Ray perfecting a sort of Gothic New Age, and although that might sound horrible on paper it sounds brilliant on the air.

Saddle Creek:

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