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Azure Ray

Azure Ray is an Athens, GA, duo composed of Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor; their self-titled debut album is a quiet, gentle set of lovely songs that doesn't fit neatly into any current pigeonhole. Both women have contributed to more well-known projects -- both have played in the ever-changing Bright Eyes touring band and Fink has played with the interesting Japancakes instrumental ensemble (but she didn't hint at the sort of lovely and emotional soul-searching found on Azure Ray). Produced by Eric Bachmann (aka Crooked Fingers and former Archers of Loaf frontman), the record is delicate walk through a dark world of relationships. Bachmann seems to contribute atmosphere more than anything (although the saxophone on "Don't Make a Sound" could've come right from his Barry Black project), allowing the two singer/songwriters to stretch sadly around melancholy melodies. The album's best songs are the most sad; their pain is our very distinct pleasure. Josh Modell

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