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  Burn and Shiver  
  Azure Ray  
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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 “best-of” 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.

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  This is a mini-review composed to go along with Malimus' 2002 Year In Review list. It might make sense to read that whole list.  

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