Review Summary: Another strong release from an overlooked group
Azure Ray was formed in 2001 in the southern US college town of Athens, Georgia by a duo of women, and the lineup has remained the same ever since. In the following years, they’ve produced a solid discography within the amorphous genre territory in between folk, dream pop, and slowcore. While this isn’t untrodden ground, it’s always been clear that Azure Ray were one of the finest purveyors of the style. The duo’s three LPs released in the early 2000s were all excellent, and after a break their fourth LP, 2010’s Drawing Down The Moon
, stood up as well. The group put out a few EPs between 2010 and 2021, but there was a long gap until the recent release of Remedy
. With a sound track record for consistent greatness, would their fifth full-length keep the streak going? No suspense, the answer is yes.
Azure Ray’s traditional approach has been subtle and atmospheric, leaving one listener’s feeling of beauty and wonderful melancholy being another’s takeaway of boredom and lack of memorability. Each of their albums have pursued (more or less) the same vibe of sad, wistful tunefulness, bolstered by the same genre influences, never leaning too far in one direction or another. Remedy
doesn’t see the duo rocking the boat too hard (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it), but certainly leans furthest towards dream pop of any of their LPs yet. While folk and slowcore influences are abundant and the album is consumed by dreary, almost-Gothic stylings, it isn’t at all wrong to call Remedy
a dream pop album, despite residing on the lonesome edge of its style.
is a consistent album in terms of atmosphere, it’s a bit uneven with regards to song quality. There are no bad tunes, but some are more forgettable than others. A few stand out among the rest, with “Bad Dream” being perhaps the catchiest song here and the title track also being a masterful listen. Late in the tracklist, “29 Palms” is the clear-cut best piece here and a career highlight for Azure Ray, just a lovely song.
Despite being a great record, Remedy
is unlikely to stand the test of time as Azure Ray’s pinnacle. That accomplishment will probably go to the understated near-classic Burn And Shiver
or perhaps the group’s self-titled debut. Nonetheless, Remedy
is a strong release in its own right, and a feather in the cap of a group with a rock-solid discography who’ve never quite received the attention they deserve.