Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions – Through The Devil Softly (2009)


I listened first to Mazzy Star only a few years back, and at once was enveloped in the dreamy blanket that the band weaved with their music. Songs like Fade Into You and Rhymes of an Hour were made for a lazy day on the bed. Sandoval’s smooth and intimate voice fit well with the guitar thrums of David Roback to create the “aural equivalent of longing” as one reviewer put it.

After 1996, Hope began working with other bands and Mazzy Star was lost, much to the disappointment of fans. Sandoval formed The Warm Inventions in 2001 and came out with the debut album Bavarian Fruit Bread the same year. The Warm Inventions are Hope and Colm Ó Cíosóig (the drummer from My Bloody Valentine). Bavarian came and went without much news. The Warm Inventions since then also came out with two EPs both of which got little airplay. However, now the band is coming out with their second album, Through the Devil Softly on September 15; and it seems its time to play the music once again.

The band has released one song off the album – Blanchard, and it has the same drowsy plaintive soul that makes Hope special. Blanchard is a bluesy dreamy affair with Hope holding center-stage with her breathy caressing vocals tumbling through a cloud of lush guitar. As usual, the lyrics are almost impossible to decipher, yet the music does a good job of guiding the listener along a whirl of emotions. “I play death in the space of my life. That’s how I feel, and I never think it twice.” In concerts, Hope and the band usually envelop in a blanket of darkness punctuated by flickering lights here and there, ensconced in their own space. They expect the listener to do the same, cocooned in their music, a thoroughly private affair.

In other news, Hope has confirmed that she and Roback haven’t called it quits and they are still working on their fourth album. So Mazzy Star will be back, hopefully soon. One guy termed Mazzy as “country music as imagined by Tim Burton”. Nothing could be truer.

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