(Rhymes Of An Hour)
Co-written and co-produced by founding members David Roback and Hope Sandoval, on Seasons of the Day, the group's fourth album and follow up to 1996′s Among My Swan, Mazzy Star sound very much the same as always. A mix of dream pop and gently sedated Americana, their sound is simple and unfussy, like the Cocteau Twins if they came from the American Mid-West. In the meantime, Hope Sandoval released two albums with the Warm Inventions alongside the occasional guest appearance - including providing vocals on the last Massive Attack album - though on the whole the group's members have been fairly quiet over the past 16 years. You wouldn't have thought it had been that long listening to this new album as they sound comfortable carrying on right where they left off.
In The Kingdom begins with a warm, inviting organ before Hope joins in alongside a full band, making for some soft and blissed-out country pop. The following track California is a stand out moment on the record. Despite just being acoustic guitars and some quiet percussion, the track really hits, giving plenty of space for Hope's unmistakeable voice to fill up the minor key backdrop which seems to contain faint echoes of Joni Mitchell's song of the same name. Her sultry voice and deliberately slow delivery have always been the centre point of the group, and they carry the same wait and ability to demand your attention.
Does Someone Have Your Baby Now contains a sparingly used slide guitar that riffs along under a wash of cascading cymbals as Hope intimately expresses “I want to get it on with you”, a lyric that should be more at home in a chart pop song, but here it is carried with an emotive and earnest wanting. On Sparrow, Sandoval's delivery is similarly slow and drawn out but still you hang on to every word as she says “You used to say/I'll be fine on my own”. Flying Low finishes up the album with, a dirty guitar tone and a reverbed harmonica jamming out. The song is spacious and unhurried, feeling like an approximation of Mazzy Star's work as a whole so far.
The album is not a bold reinvention or a rehashing of old success', instead Mazzy Star are just doing what they've always done. If you've enjoyed their past work you'll get something out of this, and even for those unfamiliar with the band there is very little to dislike here, though maybe not enough to really latch onto and cherish. Whilst Seasons of the Day never sounds like its in a rush like a lazy, Sunday morning, not that the music is lazily made, it's evident that care and attention has gone into this album, but it can, at times, slip right by like a forgotten dream.
Originally posted on figure8magazine.co.uk