Orenda Fink takes a break from her many bandmates with Ask the Night, a folk-filled consideration of the artist’s down-home roots.
Orenda Fink is a busy woman. Having tackled dream-pop as one half of Azure Ray, indie rock with her band Art in Manila, and ethereal art-pop with O+S, the Alabama-born singer/songwriter is in a pensive, homebound mood on her second solo effort. Ask the Night is Fink’s love letter to her southern folk roots, and its 10 songs brim with gentle mandolins, fiddles, and banjos. Stirring girl-power waltz “Sister” (“Now that he is gone/We’re back to laughing all night long”) is the perfect showcase for her honeyed vocals, which fall somewhere between Jenny Lewis and Gillian Welch. Other highlights include the melancholy opener “Why Is the Night Sad,” the goth-tinged “High Ground,” as well as the layered atmospherics of “The Mural.” Much of the rest lacks the songwriting prowess of some of Fink’s nu-folk peers, but Ask the Night is as undeniably lovely as a late-summer breeze.