The dream-pop beauty of Orenda Fink & Maria Taylor, a.k.a. Azure Ray, is always welcome. The duo themselves have floated in and out of being, only this year playing their first show in half a decade, as they’d worked on other projects. Finding a box of old tapes (literal magnetic tapes) has prompted them to put out their first new music in five years, the sweet EP Waves.
Waves is only five tracks, including a cover, reworking an old song, and a reprise of the opener. That being said, “Palindrome” is quintessential Azure Ray, and fellow new original “Last Summer In Omaha” is a very effective ‘sad goodbye to where we lived.’ 2003’s “Hold On Love” is given a country-sad version (this is a group that spent time in said Omaha), and their cover of R.E.M. classic “Nightswimming” manages to be definitely different without being ‘different for difference’s sake” (this is also a group that spent time in Athens, Georgia). Plus every indie act should do an R.E.M. cover at some point.
Much more a quiet ‘Hello again’ than a big ‘We’re back!’, it’s wonderful to have Azure Ray return.