Monday, September 30, 2013

Mazzy Star: Seasons of Your Day

Heck of a year for returning bands. My Bloody Valentine dropped their first in two decades on us, the Pixies have an EP, the Replacements are touring again, even David Bowie came out of semi-retirement. Mazzy Star's legacy may not be as bombastic as those heroes, but they have their place, their niche neatly carved out, with the gentle, soft-focus guitar of David Roback and the sweet, whispery vocals of Hope Sandoval. Their new album, Seasons of Your Day is just a really lovely 50 minutes of that. It'll sit nicely on my shelf with recent releases from the xx and Feist, and classics from the likes of Nick Drake and Richard & Linda Thompson. It's power might be the exact thing that people who like Lana Del Rey's music get from her. It's a thing of measured beauty, subtle and low-key, restful and relaxed. Sandoval's cooing voice carries a distant, enigmatic sweetness. The slight instrumentation - full of instruments, but with everything operating at the lower end of the power gauge - takes you in and wraps the whole affair around you. Dusky steel slide blues guitars add weight, a shamanistic feel here and there.

There's a real human spirit at work here. It suggests itself, rather than taking a concrete, knowable form, leaves us to ponder and interpret and to take from it what we can, depending on what we brought in. Personally, tonight, I needed something with this distant glow. This introspective comedown.

I was talking with an aunt tonight about meditation, and about "being present." For all the talk one might sling about putting on an album like this and "drifting away," the question remains where you drift to: deeper inside yourself, it seems. You listen to an album like this and you are forced to just sit there with yourself and take it all in. Think about yourself, think about the world around you, and the one inside.

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