Whenever I’m feeling a slight twitch of sadness, I always reach for Azure Ray for comfort. Like all of their albums, Hold On Love is no exception. It is not the fact that Azure Ray puts me into this sadness, but it is the band’s ability to lift a pessimist’s soul. In their new album, they begin with “The Devil’s Feet,” combining a simple piano composition with clever lyrics. Slow and steady, the melodic rhythm gives their fourth album a good start.
While closing my eyes, I imagine the comfort of rain hitting my bedroom window. The equal amounts of sadness mixes with their slight amount of optimism to create an elixir we commonly know as good music. In their title hit “New Resolution,” there is a break from the comfort of their slow beats to a more synthesized and orchestrated “break up” song. As the song removes the pessimism within this writer as well as in Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor’s voices, it reveals the true sound of Azure Ray.
For the creative mind, this album has reached new levels for the band. It first places them on the map with MTV, which is sort of a great achievement if you like MTV. Second, its ability to keep its “sleepcore” persona in depressing lyrics may leave them deeply rooted to their origins. Hold On Love has this uncanny way to keep me in a dream world where the worries of reality have disappeared with the sound of two women’s voices. I find myself listening to this album more when I’m happy rather than when I’m sad. Time and again it has always felt as though Azure Ray can take my hand and guide me through the tough moments in my life, but this album has been holding my hand through everything for the past couple of weeks.
Other songs like “Look to Me” and “Across the Ocean” can sway a person into their past and remind him/her of a love once had, a reminder that Azure Ray still has the power to trouble the optimist. Each song is delicately aligned and sewn together with emotions and memories that actually relate to the people listening. In their last track, aptly named “Hold On Love,” Azure Ray reveals their final quantity of optimism. Words like “just hold on love / even when I scream and fight / even when I swear I don’t love you / just hold on tight,” a person is automatically reversed from the gloomy and heavy rain on a window pane to a subtle amount of sunshine beaming through the cracks in the clouds. Hold On Love drives a person from one emotion to the next, leading one to a final happy ending. Just like a fairy tale.
(Saddle Creek Records)