Number 745 - Mazzy Star
"Fade Into You"
If psychedelic music had a voice in '90s post-punk, Mazzy Star may have been its strongest reincarnation. That doesn't necessarily mean that fans of the Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead will find the band to their liking, however. Mazzy Star much prefered the dark side of psychedelia, as exemplified by the most distended tracks of the Doors and the Velvet Underground. Their fuzzy guitar workouts and plaintive folky compositions are often suffused in a dissociative ennui that is very much of the 1990s, however much their textures may recall the drug-induced states of vintage psychedelia.
Although Mazzy Star was nominally a full band, they were basically the core duo of guitarist David Roback and singer Hope Sandoval with backing musicians. Roback boasts a long history in the paisley underground, with the Rain Parade and Opal. He came across Sandoval after hearing a tape she had made as part of a folky duo, Going Home. (The Going Home album that Roback subsequently produced remains unissued.) Sandoval ended up replacing Kendra Smith on Opal's final tours. After Opal dissolved, Roback and Sandoval continued to work together as Mazzy Star, and released their first album for Rough Trade, She Hangs Brightly, in 1990.
Rough Trade's U.S. branch went under shortly afterwards, but luckily Mazzy Star were picked up by Capitol, who kept the debut in print and issued their follow-up, 1993's So Tonight That I Might See. There isn't much to differentiate the two albums, though that's not necessarily a criticism. Both share similar strengths and weaknesses: appealingly dreamy and atmospheric arrangements, rambling distorted guitar workouts, and lyrics that mix the haunting and the meaninglessly vague. Tonight That I Might See had been around for about a year before it suddenly got hot, reaching the Top 40, and spinning off a small hit single, "Fade Into You." Even in the wake of this surprise success, Roback and Sandoval remained as enigmatic and aloof as their music, rarely submitting to interviews, and offering mysterious, unhelpful replies when journalists did manage to talk with them. ~ [Richie Unterberger]
For Velvet Underground see Number 953
For The Doors see Number 729, #746 & #851
For Cowboy Junkies see Number 858
What does Rolling Stone think about Mazzy Star? "Mazzy Star's spacey fusion of old blues, creepy psychedelia and down-and-out country & western could've proved as unpleasant as the combined effects of cheap whiskey, magic-mushroom tea and black coffee. But the West Coast duo neutralized the weird mix into cool, laid-back ballads for their highly acclaimed 1990 debut, She Hangs Brightly. Mazzy's follow-up, So Tonight That I Might See, spaces off into even hazier dreamscapes that are so relaxed it makes the Cowboy Junkies seem wired."
"It's strange. Even though So Tonight That I Might See incorporates many of the same warm elements that made Billie Holiday bloom and Gram Parsons bleed, it still winds up feeling as dull and disconnected as a lone junkie at a crowded party". (RS 671)
And i thought some of the comments i get were harsh!
Labels: Mazzy Star