Azure Ray holds a special place in my heart, so with each year that passes without a new LP from them (they remained brazenly silent in the many years between their last two full-lengths) I feel the pangs of yearning. But the ladies, Maria Taylor and Orenda Fink, have kept busy with other solo and group projects. Taylor's solo music nestled itself into a pretty but saccharine place, Fink's has always been more daring. Her first LP was ridden with spiritual Haitian influences, and her second delved into some ramshackle country-folk. Her songs with Azure Ray have always been the more adventurous as well, and so it has always been her I have gravitated towards more.
Which is why I am so exuberantly excited about her forthcoming third solo LP, Blue Dream. Inspired by the death of her beloved dog, the album is said to tackle themes of spirituality and mortality. First single "Ace of Cups," while a bit cryptic, definitely gets the ball rolling. A steady beat, throbbing keyboards, and close harmonies are all over this thing, while Fink sings sad truths about mourning such as "Hope is a bitter hand at the bottom of the ocean / And salvation is like speaking to a wall." The song coalesces into a nice lurch, including a surprise electric guitar near the end. This may not utilize her considerable chops as well as some of her other tunes, but it certainly has me eager to hear more.
Blue Dream is out August 19, via Saddle Creek.