Mazzy Star – [Album]

Sunday, 22 September 2013

I do not approach music as a musician, or a music historian or critic. I am a listener. I am a fan. With that on the record, when I was offered an advance listen to Seasons Of Your Day by Mazzy Star recently, I couldn’t resist the chance to say a few words about the experience. This is my summary of the highlights I heard in the album, track-by-track.

“In the Kingdom” – Beautiful organs and that beautiful voice of Hope Sandoval, which could easily be heard one hundred years from now or years ago and be just as timeless, just as iconic, just as mood-bound. Like Mona Lisa, "In The Kingdom" has a million nuances. Effortless. The songs are wonderful, evocative emotional powerhouses – all of them – but this is the first true standout.

“I’ve Gotta Stop” –
This one feels like going grocery shopping with your best friends in a submerged mall, just floating around with the cart, laughing. It’s floating music, but your lack of ability to do so shouldn’t hinder you from falling into this song.

“Lay Myself Down” –
It has the temper of a great Petty or Dylan track. I can’t not love this moment to death, over and over. This is finding a sick bird in your childhood yard. You have everything in the heart beat of the tempo, sadness, easy joy, relief. Just past the three minute mark is a gorgeous little sound cradle. I could listen to this song a million times and that little shift will always be new.

“Seasons of Your Day” –
Something about Nick Drake in this one. It just oozes a hesitant, sunlight in its strings while it confidently creeps into you with its slides. Feels like you are with a best friend, walking down a familiar and warm train track at dusk, whistling. Sandoval may as well be singing to us eager fans when she concedes, “I know you’ve been missing me/ Well I’ve been missing you too.”
“Sparrow” –
The sweeping, drooping goodness is pretty much entrancing. It actually competes with her voice. But nothing feels quite like that interjecting piano around the two and a half mark. I'm convinced when the apocalypse comes it will be songs like this one sung around barrels of fire, keeping people warm.

“Spoon” –
“Spoon” effortless evokes Blind Melon, a splash of Led Zeppelin and pure Mazzy Star throughout, of course. I can’t picture listening to this and doing anything which didn’t suddenly feel important. Even laundry and grocery shopping feel more cinematic, more ethereal. This track is the perfect bookend to the opening track “California” as well.
“Does Someone Have Your Baby Now” –
This is one of my favorite tracks, it almost sounds like “Satisfied Mind” for a second, and becomes this whole other experience.  

I would suggest being in a boat going nowhere or in a field with some wine or in a dim, cool summer-air blues spot when listening to this song. As always, it is also great music to fall in and out of love to, or curl up with a tattered copy of Pablo Neruda or just stare at a candle in some incense filled kitchen that overlooks the NYC skyline.

"In The Kingdom" –
Through this song as a whole, Hope's voice is exactly as it has always been – soulful and sweet – and the music cleans up well with the years. It is familiar only in the sense any auteur is. It would be difficult to even try to compare the last album with this since one is a friend you have known forever and the latter is just too amazing and new not to get a little caught up in. Let’s just say it is good to hear from this voice again, and all the instruments that compliment her as well. Let’s hope this is the beginning of a new season of Star albums.


Mazzy Star – Seasons Of Your Day – “California” – [mp3]  


Seasons Of Your Day
will be released on September 24, 2013 via Rhymes of an Hour Records/Fontana North. Pre-order it here on Amazon .

Comments are closed.