About this time last year we here at The Sponge
were somewhat shocked to discover that Azure Ray was apparently
the common denominator of all of us. We’re a pretty rag-tag
bunch, all told, and it was rather surprising to see Azure Ray’s
self-titled debut pop up on every
list submitted for 2001.
It seems that Azure Ray’s music oversteps boundary and
genre and approaches simply “great music” status,
in the process short circuiting all of the predefined boxes
we Minions like to forcefully shove ourselves (and others) into.
What’s more, Azure Ray apparently does this with such
sublimity and subtleness that no one notices until well after
the fact. That may explain why no one bothered to review the
follow-up release this year.
Using their secret subtle ways the band managed to coast right
on through the year without causing a fuss, yet again. (Or perhaps
I told people I’d do it and they foolishly believed me.)
That’s kinda bad, because Burn and Shiver
is actually a stronger album than the debut, IMHO. The songs
are tighter, more cohesive. The arrangements are more nuanced
(borrowing heavily from producer Eric Bachmann’s Crooked
Fingers sample heavy sound.) The writing is more mature
and the vocal delivery is surer of itself.
All in all, Burn and Shiver does everything Azure
Ray did last year, only better and with more confidence. That’s
a very good thing in my world, and I’d imagine in a lot
of other Minions’ worlds as well.