After years of playing solo gigs and being in various groups Brennan Walden decided to switch to a lane where he could take full responsibility by creating and producing the music he envisioned. With this in mind, he honed his craft and launched his solo project Azure Sky. The result of his endeavors, is captured within his debut album, “The End of a Decade,” a project entirely self-written, recorded and produced. This album has quite a bit going on in the way of its use of instruments. Heavily orchestrated at moments and then stripped, simple art-pop at the next turn. Azure Sky makes it impossible to have a favorite song, everything is really good and Brennan doesn’t seem to be sitting very still in any specific space for very long.
Lots of dream pop harmonies and shoegaze echoes, wash across the jangly guitar-driven indie-rock soundscapes. It is totally captivating. I was immediately drawn into this beautiful world Azure Sky has crafted, and enthralled with each and every song to some degree.
Though totally fresh, these songs hold a subtle nostalgic retro flavor which adds to their enchantment. In fact, everything sounds spectacular right from the opening track, “Goodmorning Goodbye”, with its hints of chamber-pop orchestration and layers of harmonic textures, enhanced by Brennan’s silky-smooth falsetto.
Right off the bat, Brennan Walden proves himself to be a preternaturally-gifted songwriter when it comes to melody and harmony – traits gleaming on “I’ll Be Around” and “Butterfly”.
This a pristine beauty is further amplified across the album, by the sophistication and sharpness of the arrangements, which somehow simultaneously maintain a ‘live performance’ feel and vibrancy to them. This is evident on “Shy” and the highly harmonized “Dichotomy” which also features a wall of acoustic guitar strums.
Of course, none of that would matter if there wasn’t a great voice at the center, and thankfully Brennan is also a gifted singer. He has a clear, expressive voice that sounds as if it could move alongside the mystical scenery his music conjures.
It at its best, and most powerful, on the standout mid-tempo song, “154 Beechwood”. The album also contains punchy indie rock orientated compositions like “The Optimist”, which again showcases Brennan rich and complex vocal arrangements.
Even when the tunes are playful and bouncy, as on “Sunshine”, there’s always something elusive and otherworldly inscribed in Brennan’s music, which you just cannot put your finger on. “My Cup of Tea” is another track on my standout list.
It’s when the guitars get harder, the beat sturdier, and Brennan’ voice gets gutsier that Azure Sky truly escalate to higher level, in my opinion. “Societal Shedding” sweeps in on whimsical harmonies that are extremely impactful and warm on the ear, and by the end of the track it’s reached my standout list, thanks to the nuanced lead vocal and lush arrangement.
“Spirit Molecule” introduces a brief instrumental before the album closes with “Ishmael”, which – between guitars and vocals – plays on sonic dynamics with forceful command. Azure Sky blends musical tones and vocal harmonizing perfectly. Music this good doesn’t come around often, so pick up “The End of a Decade” as soon as you can. Your musical life will be much richer for it.