26 September 2023

Running With The Wolves EP

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Reviewed by Ian Phillips.

Azure Ryder, Island Records, 2020.

While we’re cooped up inside and searching for entertainment options, I’ve decided that we should help out our struggling local artists by listening to, and buying, their records.

So this week I’m reviewing only Australian performers and, following my usual practice of offering variety, I have a young female singer/songwriter from NSW, a legendary pub rock band from Melbourne and a progressive meal band from Adelaide.

Running With The Wolves is the first release for Australian singer/songwriter Azure Ryder and it’s an impressive debut.

Azure hails from a coastal NSW town not far from Sydney and she was born into a big Australian/Lebanese family where her parents’ large record collection became her musical encyclopedias.

These early musical influences, from Sam Cooke to Elvis, shaped her own songs and vocal style which she’s honed through years in choirs and singing while undertaking long walks along the beach.

She has a very clear and versatile voice. She can sometimes sound like Norah Jones, especially on the tracks, Stir The Dust and Wolves, but she has her own strong style and a she’s a confident performer.

The opening track and first single, Dizzy begins with a woozy synth accompaniment that cleverly reinforces the feelings associated with the tracks title.

The track builds around a sparse rhythmic base and Azure makes the most of her excellent voice by layering multiple vocal harmonies.

On the track, Wolves she is largely accompanied only by a finger-picked acoustic guitar – this really highlights her vocal strength and control.

On Stir The Dust, she sounds most like Norah Jones although there are other influences in there as well – possibly a little Dusty Springfield.

The final track, Crimson sees a return of the woozy organ bringing a sense of completion to the EP.

Running With The Wolves is a perfect introduction to Azure Ryder as an up-and-coming performer. She is certainly one of the most accomplished of the new breed of singer/songwriters to burst onto the scene recently.

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