Mazzy Star shine in first album in 17 years

Mazzy Star shine in first album in 17 years
Music Group: Lanterns On The Lake

A simple Google search solves the mystery behind the band name: For folks wondering what "mazzy" in Mazzy Star means, it is "pearl" or "precious" in Israeli, and often used as a girl's name.

It's an apt moniker for the Santa Monica collective fronted by guitarist David Roback and singer Hope Sandoval: The music is as languid and romantic as you'd expect.

Seasons Of Your Day is only their fourth album. Recorded between 1997 and last year in Norway, London and California, it is released 17 years after their last, 1996's Among My Swan.

And it seems like a day has not passed since. No, but it's more like time has not only stood still, it's also deepened, crystallising what makes Mazzy Star so inimitable.

Sandoval's croon remains impeccable, flowing as golden caramel over Roback's buttery guitar in a landscape evocative of the vast desert of Wim Wenders' 1984 film Paris, Texas. The music is sparse yet emotive, senses heightened. Every vocal tumbleweed stirs memories, each luscious strum simmers.

They capture the deliciously hazy moment between sleep and awakening; every creature stretches itself, ready for day or night.

"Simple things like your overcoat and your beauty/That still are haunting me," she sings in the intoxicating single Common Burn, as sounds crackle into view - a sprinkling of acoustic riffs and starlit keys that glow, and glower.

Nothing overdone, these slow-burners take their time, a gasp of cacti blooms in the most discreet moment.

Sandoval's metier is in casually tossing vowels so rounded and dissolving, you'd almost miss their punch. This woman won't beseech obviously.

"Won't you let me inside?/I've released all of my pride," she proffers a rhyming couplet in a purr that nails the inner turmoil. Her lissome voice gleans strings that swell, then subside.

The sultry caress can belie the menace - tracks such as Does Someone Have Your Baby Now? and Spoon (with a cameo by the late great guitarist Bert Jansch) feature crashing percussion and virtuosic strings that leave you a little dazed.

You'd feel the same way with Until The Colours Run, the moving second album by English indie-rock quintet Lanterns On The Lake.

While they aren't always committed to the same glacial pace as Mazzy Star, this young band have carved out a cavern all their own. They flit between post-rock heroics (You Soon Learn) and country- folk balladry (Green And Gold) with disarming sincerity. Zeroing in on the band's recent financial and personal strife mirrored in Britain's political malaise, the album goes for broke.

The single Another Tale From Another English Town is an urban hymn with anti-establishment overtones with ethereal singer Hazel Wilde chanting: "We don't want to fight/We want a quiet life."

It's a refrain worth mulling in times good and bad.

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