When it came time to follow up their tiny masterpiece, 2002's November, Azure Ray's Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor left behind the Southern comfort of Athens, GA, for Omaha. Both of Azure Ray's significant others already resided in the quaint Nebraska town, so the two opted to take a chance there as well. Such a change worked in their favor on Hold on Love, for the two have captured a cohesiveness that was lacking on previous Azure Ray albums. Fink and Taylor's gothic dreamscape of wonder and melancholy is fleshed out with their breathy warm vocals as the main focus. Lite strings, percussion, and assorted acoustic guitars and woodwinds flow nicely throughout while misted pianos accent Hold on Love's overall prettiness. The sentiment of "These White Lights Will Bend to Make Blue" explores Azure Ray's desire to sift through the old to make sense of what's new, which is also reflective of the group's maturation as artists. "The Drinks We Drank Last Night" and "Sea of Doubts" may echo darker thoughts, but Hold on Love pines for tight fit in love and all of its loveliness, good and bad. One thing that remained the same was having longtime producer Eric Bachmann on board. Bachmann fully realizes Azure Ray's cathartic song style, and for Hold on Love he and Azure Ray reworked the group's usual ethereality for their brightest material yet.
Hold on Love Review
by MacKenzie Wilson