[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
10 Songs. 50 Minutes. 17 years.
Now within those parameters we find Mazzy Star somehow alive again with their new record “Seasons of Your Day”. The last time this pair had anything out, Clinton was president of the United States and the internet could still be accessed by this company called NetScape. Like so many other bands who labored for years in obscurity, Hope and David had their hit as we all know and fondly remember. They, along with more than a few artists, were praised and then crucified by the music press of the day. You see, they have an unmistakeable sound to what they do and those same pundits who applauded their uncompromising stance were the first in line to write them off.
Mazzy Star’s true greatness rests in the fact that nearly two decades after “Among My Swan” a massive cross section of the music listening public have been eagerly looking forward to their return. So many of the bands I grew up with are no more, and most of those who have tried to come back failed miserably. These two, however, remain true to themselves firstly and have produced a new album which contains some of their most beloved trademarks but is also remarkably different than their first three releases. Oh now don’t start freaking out, Sandoval’s voice is still that smoky shade of intimacy as it always will be. The reverb has been toned down, allowing her greater range. She’s not hitting the high notes as she once did, we find her far grittier… older and far wiser.
Aren’t we all. Ok, maybe most of us are. These new songs have a much greater penchant for acoustic guitar than anything they’ve yet done and some of the slide guitar work on here is so good it makes me lose my nerve; there’s one track on “Seasons of Your Day” which employs that famous tambourine in a manner I can only describe as spine-tingling. They’re just so good at what they do, why oh why did they ever have to go away. As I previously inferred, you could play this to just about anyone and they’d fall in love with what they’re hearing. The barest elements of a groove presents itself on some of this, yet on other tracks we find dueling guitars or a thunderous, lumbering beat which is irresistible.
All the years they have been apart there was talk, so much talk of how they’d someday do another album. Each time the false start was revealed, a little piece of me crumbled inside. How was it that a band who worked with such simple arrangements could be so gorgeous, and why did they ever have to stop? From the moment the needle first hit my copy of “She Hangs Brightly” in 1990, I was hooked. I’m getting that same feeling now these many years later and even though a lot of things have changed out there in the world, Mazzy Star are as aloof and cool as ever. Now just as then, they’ll let you see them from behind the opaque glass as nothing more than slow burning light.
I have to come back to the arsenal of guitars which get employed by the band, I really hadn’t expected such a diverse and bluesy record from them and I can’t stop smiling while I play this. They remind us again that it’s okay if you want to be alone with your thoughts and feel a bit sad. When my time comes, I’d like to think this is what I’ll be hearing in my head. The curtain comes up again on Mazzy Star and for a little while we get to see our old friends again; a bittersweet intensity, a desire unfulfilled… don’t be gone so long next time.