Mazzy Star – Seasons of Your Day

Back after a 17 year absence, Mazzy Star is as delightfully amorphous as ever – not that the band has an indistinct sound. Going into the opening strums of the first track, the listener might think they were hearing Spiritualized, Low, or a host of other way-laid-back, Velvet Underground influenced acts. Then, from the moment vocalist Hope Sandoval peals into the first note, there’s no doubt it’s Mazzy Star. Still, the band is still hard to describe.

Like a whisper, a lover’s sigh, or a puff of opium smoke, Sandoval’s voice has a ghostlike, laconic quality that carries you to dreamscapes you’ll vaguely remember. Sandoval is your tour guide through aural realms of free association – places where words don’t really matter. This is to say that the band’s music traverses the realms of the unconscious and precognitive rather than dealing with boring, tangible, static things like relationships or lived experience, even. I suppose this is a good thing, because the lyrics are very difficult to make out, anyway. Seasons of Your Day is best heard in its entirety rather than as separate songs because the whole affair melds together into a seamless but somehow disconcerting whole.

Mazzy Star’s dreampop detours and digresses into blues, drone and Americana territories, and taken as a whole, it’s very, uh, “pretty.” It’s beautiful, in fact. But there’s the hint of strangeness, an undertone of profound sadness or menace that’s almost imperceptible. Still, there’s the faintest clue that Mazzy Star’s sweet dreams could easily veer into nightmares, depression, or the white light of nothingness. This is what gives Mazzy Star its edge, and this is why I’m glad they’re back.

Mazzy Star
Seasons of Your Day
[Fontana]