Hear The Track HereDon't know about the rest of you guys, but I for one am glad to see this coming up for review. In the year that saw the demise of the illustrious Can't Stop The Daggers, it's heartening to see that - albeit after a years absence - London based Alternative/pop band Azoora are still in there pitching away. Azoora are in literally a handful of artists who have made a really big impression on me over the years. Although I do tend to get enthused about individual tracks, there are very few musicians who have kept me along for the whole ride, Azoora have been right up there because every single one of their very idiosyncratic EP's has been a Must Have for me and for many of you too, I guess. I first came across this UK band in 2006 when I reviewed (separately) each of the tracks that would make up their first EP, Tall Tales and found them the answer to my dreams, if not to yours. Over the years they have released five of these EP's, all of which are available for FREE at the 23 seconds website, and I guarantee that you will not hear any finer indie music anywhere than this. try it and see.
Tension follows the tradition set down in earlier EPs where there are three original tracks and three remixes/remasters, often by collaborators such as Rude Corps, Can't Stop The Daggers etc. Azoora are a four piece band consisting of Paul Loader (songwriter, vocals, acoustic guitar), John Purcell (producer, composer, multi-instrumentalist), Ben Cochrane (drums) and Trudi Lawrence (backing vocals) and one of the joys of Azoora tracks are the blend of Paul and Trudi's vocals and the masterful way Paul and John have at putting it all together. Some of my favourite tracks over the past few years have come from this combination, Azoora EP's get consistently played in my house and Tension is definitely going to join them. Mind you, that isn't what I first thought when The King flowed past my ears. Not what I expected at all, considerably more adventurous than previous Azoora tracks and, consequently, it takes a little more time to settle in. One of the very best things about previous Azoora tracks has been their instant likability, and I don't think the same is true of Tension, which to me seemed to take much, much longer to establish itself in my brain.
Not that anything has changed, the tracks still sound as professional as it gets, the arrangements are as complex as anything they have attempted in the past but the music seems to have grown up considerably, going into areas I wouldn't normally have expected from this band. Still, that's a good thing, right? As far as I can tell, after scouring the whole EP as thoroughly as I can, Azoora are pretty much sticking to the format they feel most at home with, but that edge of experimentation brings a whole new side of the band to the fore. Take, for example, my favourite from this EP. Predetermined. It's a slower number, which has always been my favourite Paul Loader style, but with so much packed into the track its going to take years to suss it all out. For me, as a long term, die hard Azoora fan, this has come as a most pleasant, if slightly puzzling, surprise but one I am sure I will grow into. One thing is beyond doubt in my mind, Azoora are still one of the brighter lights on the indie scene, what we see on Tension is them growing and evolving at a ridiculous pace. To older Azoora fans though, let me say that this will come as a bit different but - as always - best to give it the workout it deserves and you'll see why it's worthwhile.
Best in Class. Highly Recommended UK Indie.