Drawing Down the Moon
After a six-year hiatus, Azure Ray’s Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor are back at it, and seem to be picking things up more or less where they left off—with the same sorrowful strings, and deep driving bass accompanying the duo’s delicate harmonies and heartfelt, and occasionally heart-wrenching, lyrics. But while their 2003 effort, Hold on Love, had a hint of festivity thrown in (the twinkling piano and endearing sentiment of “If You Fall”), it’s evident on Drawing Down the Moon that the duo have had a lot of heavy stuff on their minds. In a style reminiscent of the last album’s “Look at Me,” the sleepy, melancholic ballad “Larraine” tells of alcoholism and familial dysfunction: “You cried in the dark/ While they drank beers on the lawn.” Six years later, they’re still coming to terms with those “Fucked up famil[ies].” The song “Silver Sorrow”—about new beginnings and doing one’s best—turns out to be probably the lightest of the tracks here. All told, the album is a bit of a downer, but it’s sincere. The captivating storytelling that Fink and Taylor weave into every dreamy anthem is enchanting, and it sets them apart from cohorts whose sadness comes across as a put-on.