Mazzy Star are one of those bands that have a shadowy little corner of music history all to themselves. I imagine they’re still recruiting fans with their slow, sexy, scuzzed-up sound. They were never a popular band as such, but they were a serious cult band. And those bands just keep growing in status long after their official life is over. They were a little bit Velvet Underground, a little bit country, a little bit bluesy, a little bit folkie, a little bit gothic, a little bit psychedelic. But they blurred it all in to their own mix with songs of defeat and regret. They sounded loose and sad and listless and scarred. They sounded dreamily distant yet nakedly intimate. Out on the horizon, and under the bed-sheets. They sounded depressed but full of love. And it seemed perfectly fitting the singers name should be Hope. Because Hope Sandoval was the perfect siren for these songs—all she needed was a tambourine and a whisper, and you were hypnotised. And David Roback had the perfect plaintive guitar style. It was a seamless blend that chased away the light and revelled in the darkness that housed songs like: “Mary of Silence”, “Five String Serenade” and “Blue Light”. They enjoyed some success with the single “Fade Into You”, and it’s a great opener and sets the tone for the rest of the album—sleepy and stark and dusty and droney. And their shy influence is still recognisable in the music of Cat Power, Smog, Feist, Sparklehorse, and many other contemporary folkies, downtempo electronica and lo-fi indie rockers. Their albums are still great to listen to because their playing was timeless and seemed to exist outside the grunge parameters of the early 90s. They may have used feedback and distorted guitars, but in a totally different way to, say, Sonic Youth or Pearl Jam. And yet it was an album you frequently spotted in the collections of many grunge fans. Who would’ve thought that sunny California could produce a band that solemnly serenaded late night excursions into the jet-black void?
~ DECOY SPOON