Hold On Love
more of the same from the duo of Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor, the
angel-voiced whisper-singers once of Athens now of Omaha, nuzzling
their sweet heads deep inside the heartache oeuvre of Saddle Creek
Records. Fans of their earlier work will recognize the hushed, aching,
beautiful songs about loneliness, despair and loss. But where once
there was an inkling of hope, there is now uncertainty and a sense
of quiet failure. A dark cloak of regret and self-doubt is draped
over everything, like going to a funeral for an old friend you always
meant to get in touch with, but never seemed to find the time.
Songs like the pretty
(yes, pretty) "Look to Me" feel like a cry for help from
someone lost in emotional turmoil. The sober, next-day longing of
"The Drinks We Drank Last Night" is laced with convenient
denial: "If you see these tears in my eyes / It's just the
wind that makes me cry." The baroque, 6/8 husher "Sea
of Doubts" sums it up with the confession "The pain
I feel deep inside / That haunts us all that we will die / Never
really knowing how it feels / To be alive," breathed by
the duo in perfect harmony.
After awhile it becomes
hard not to read your own backstory into their heartwrenching lyrics.
On "Across the Ocean," which opens with the same painful,
wonderful piano tone as Neil Young's "After the Goldrush,"
we get this line, delivered with a double-scoop of empathy, "Now
I've landed in the Midwest / Where you lived so long ago / Remember
I was always freezing / And now I'm covered up in snow."
Talk about regret.
Musically, the duo has
extended their sound from straight acoustic guitar/piano to trip-hop
beats and intricate arrangements sporting puffy-cloud orchestration.
The result is a broad sonic array that is lacking from earlier Azure
Ray efforts. Despite that, though, the core appeal remains the duo's
always intertwined vocals, as close to one voice as you'll get from
Posted Oct. 25, 2003.
Copyright © 2003 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.
dark cloak of regret and self-doubt is draped over everything,
like going to a funeral for an old friend you always meant to
get in touch with, but never seemed to find the time"