Photographers: Guri Dahl; Luz Gallardo.
Mazzy Star's first album since 1996's Among My Swan, 2013's Seasons of Your Day reunites guitarist David Roback and singer Hope Sandoval for a set of hazy, psychedelic songs that bring an unexpected country influence to their familiar dreamy sound. Having broken through with the dream pop anthem "Fade into You" off 1993's So Tonight That I Might See, Mazzy Star became the poster children for a specific brand of atmospheric, melancholic pop that combined the fairy-like qualities of '60s folk, the lo-fi melodicism of the Velvet Underground, and the fuzzy guitar atmospherics of early-'90s shoegaze. Sandoval, with her twee elfin features and smoky, cherubic coo, also became something of an alt-rock sex symbol, the Astrud Gilberto of the college rock crowd. After further cementing their status as cult favorites with their third album, Among My Swan, Mazzy Star grew displeased with the direction of their career and went on indefinite hiatus. Sandoval stayed busy performing with former My Bloody Valentine drummer Colm O C¡os¢ig as Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions, and even released two solo albums with 2001's Bavarian Fruit Bread and 2009's Through the Devil Softly. However, despite the many ensuing projects between Among My Swan and now, Seasons of Your Day still sounds very much like previous Mazzy Star albums. Here we get Roback's spacy mix of acoustic and electric guitars that frame Sandoval's gentle, yearning vocals. What's new here is a world-weariness and maturity, both in style and in overall feel. Roback displays a much more pronounced country and blues influence with several cuts, including "I've Gotta Stop," "Sparrow," and "Flying Low," built largely around his deep string bends, serpentine country-rock riffs, and liberal use of a guitar slide. The result sounds quite in tune with '70s Laurel Canyon artists like Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris. It also brings to mind a lo-fi, psychedelic version of the late legendary Texas singer/songwriter Townes Van Zandt. In essence, the album is everything you could want, finding Mazzy Star older and wiser, but still as dreamy as ever. ~ Matt Collar