Album review: "As Above So Below"
By Moira E. McLaughlin
Friday, September 7, 2012
Azure Ray’s new album, “As Above So Below,” sounds like the soundtrack to a post-apocalyptic movie. The music is gray and bare, with industrial sounds booming around Maria Taylor’s and Orenda Fink’s swirling sopranos. The duo’s whispering vocals provide a foil to the stark accompaniment, their beautiful sound like the love story in an otherwise depressing, if moving, film.
The first track, “Scattered Like Leaves,” gets things going with what sounds like rain, a sparse, resonating synthesizer and these lyrics: “If you could guess how the world will end / What pockets of dreams / Be emptied into the wind / And scattered like leaves.” It’s an intense start to an intense album that finds beauty in dark spaces. “Red Balloon,” which may be the musings of a new mother (Taylor had a baby this year), is the most upbeat and pop-friendly song.
For fans familiar with Azure Ray, “As Above So Below” sets up as a natural progression for the lifelong friends who released their first album in 2001. Back then, their simpler, singer-songwriter sound seemed mature for their age but at times lacked the energy and creativity that this new album provides. Now it seems that age, wisdom and a willingness to take chances have helped the duo create something deep, dark and wonderful.