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Thursday, 26 September 2013

Mazzy Star's Seasons of your Day

Much in keeping with the latter-day Mazzy Star sound that kept us all safe, warm and tucked in at night, Hope Sandoval and David Roback return in fine form with Seasons of your Day, their first LP in 17 years, which for many fans had merely begun to form the mythical stuff of dreams.

My mind flooded with questions prior to my pressing play, but the key one was this: to what degree have they tried to re-invent themselves?  I for one had no such desire to hear a supposedly new and improved version of a band that’s done right by me and my ears for such a long and happy time.

Was it not Isaac Newton who once said "things such as the sounds of Mazzy Star are better left unchanged" (admittedly, I may’ve made that up!) and besides, we have plenty of bands such as New York’s Widowspeak to cater for anyone with a penchant for such sacrilegious progression.

Perhaps fellow fans of the softly deviant Warm Inventions sound could be forgiven for hoping for more of the same herein, but all the same I’m glad to report that there’s no such infiltration to be heard, despite the collaboration with Colm O Ciosoig.  So, just what is it like then?

The emotive sounds that effortlessly restore an angel’s faith in mankind only truly start to surface with ‘I’ve gotta stop’, the third track on the album, but rest assured that each of its predecessors (‘In the Kingdom’ & single ’California’) are predictably and patiently delivered with reassuring familiarity.

Now the soul has succumb and swooned to a restored sense of sonic salvation, ‘Does Someone Have Your Baby Now?’ ensues, with its soothing, Warm Invention’s ‘Butterfly Mornings’ resounding self, before double 'A' side 7" release ‘Common Burn’ continues in the same comforting harmonica-rich vein.

The somewhat understated title track ‘Seasons of your Day’ is sparsely spattered with the string-strong poignancy of almost any given John-Cale produced Nico track, but the autumnal emotions it instils are soon lifted, when slide guitar-driven, double 'A' side single ‘Lay Myself Down’ unfolds.

Interrupting my vague mental comparisons to Beck’s ‘Rowboat’, a simplistic ‘Sparrow’ lures me in with its meandering charm and fantastic harpsichord action.  The intent that Bert Jansch-featuring ‘Spoon’ holds is soon undone with more slide guitar that takes us into the suburbs of Bon Joviville.

‘Flying Low’ brings the LP’s close and although Hope sings with as much lyrical mystery as ever, here we hear a purposeful delivery that’s surely derives from her early days and dare I say, back to her post-Kendra Smith vocal duties with Opal/Clay Allison, Mazzy Star’s lesser known surrogate mother.

So, as Mazzy Star refrain from striving for reinforced relevance upon their long-awaited return, Seasons of your Day thankfully breaks no new ground and all is well in the universe.  I couldn’t leave it there though, not when I have some (non) exclusive news to share!

Word on the street is that there’s plenty more where this came from and that during its recording, Seasons of your Day spawned enough material for more LPs which, despite being my favourite Mazzy Star album, need to sound a little less like long-lost bonus discs for ‘Among my Swan’. 

Please visit the Mazzy Star FaceBook page for further updates on any of the above, or for more about our favourite songstress, you could visit Hope Sandoval's webpage.  Right, I'm off to absorb Seasons of Your Day some more!