In 1993, Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval released the dream-pop gem "Fade Into You," a dusty, lilting ballad that served as the soundtrack to make-out sessions for Converse-clad alterna-dorks everywhere. The notoriously reclusive Californian hasn't cracked the mainstream since, opting to release a few records here and there with various projects.
But there's good news: Sandoval is back. With her band Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions (which features My Bloody Valentine drummer Colm Ó Cíosóig), Sandoval is gearing up to release her second record since the act's 2001 debut Bavarian Fruit Bread. The new disc Through the Devil Softly — out September 15th — is a lovely, 11-track collection of narcotic, folk tunes centered by Sandoval's breathy, irresistible seductive croon. So what took so long? "I don't really notice the time," says Sandoval coyly. "We don't keep track of the days and months. And the years."
Sandoval and Ó Cíosóig cut the disc with their crack band over the last few years in Northern California and the countryside of Wicklow County, Ireland, which no doubt helped imbue tunes like the winsome "Wild Roses" with a loose, pastoral vibe. "It was really nice to go there," says Ó Cíosóig. "It's pretty remote. There was nothing but cows next door, a lake and a little pub down the road."
Highlights from the record include the haunting, blues-esque opener "Blanchard" and the spare piano-and-acoustic-guitar ballad "Bluebird," where Sandoval's heavily echoed vocals come up so close, it's as if she's whispering in your ear. "Is that the devil in your sky?" she asks. "Is that what's glowing in your eyes?"
Sandoval is notoriously terrified about performing in public. But she's willing to hit the road with her band for some intimate club shows this fall (dates will be announced in the coming weeks). "I enjoy singing with a band playing behind me," she says, "it's just that the audience is nerve wracking — even if it's just 400 or 500 people."
As for Mazzy Star, Sandoval confirms her and her bandmate David Roback haven't called it quits and they are still working on their anticipated fourth album. But she declines to give many specifics. "It's true we're still together," she says. "We're almost finished [with the record]. But I have no idea what that means."