[title size=”1 to 6″ style=”options: default, sidebar”]Grade: B+[/title]
Mazzy Star did it: They managed keep their style, sound and ‘cool’ status after 17 years since their last album release. Seasons of Your Day released on September 24 after the 90’s ‘dream pop’ band teased their audience with the single “California” nearly all summer long.
Mazzy Star is special because of their presence in the 90’s music scene and their continued legacy since then. Mazzy Star’s sound is very 90’s. The band might not have been referred to as dream pop back then, but it is today. Dream pop artists of today are likely influenced by the likes of Mazzy Star. The characteristics of dream pop most commonly include a sort of mystical, alluring voice, and Hope Sandoval possesses just that. Sandoval’s voice somehow still hasn’t changed: it’s syrupy and has a sense of melancholy without sounding whiny or too sad. The music may be a little bit depressing sounding, but if you’re a fan of this type of music, you’ll view it as having a dark beauty.
Almost all dream pop bands of today use computerized effects to make the music sound, well, more dreamlike. But Mazzy Star did not take this predictable route. Rather, they rely on the power of Sandoval’s voice and the slow, serene instruments, most notably guitar, keyboard and the rare harmonica. Their sound is raw and acoustic sounding.
Most bands that return after an extended amount of time (or after 17 years nonetheless) end up disappointing their fans because of a few different things that can happen. The fans are often too nostalgic or obsessed with said band’s original or early material to appreciate or understand the new material that is likely different. It’s also possible that a re-emerging band really might conform to popular musical styles, like the use of synthesizers when the band previously did not use synthesizers.
An example of such a band is The Strokes with their release of Comedown Machine this year. Fans and critics hated on the album. The album did include synthesizers and other effects and directions new for the band but it was still very much The Strokes. (Personally I thought it was a strong and rich album great for dancing to).
Seasons of Your Day is special because it is an exception to this unfortunate pattern. Mazzy Star is one of few bands successful in holding on to their charm and remaining true to the epicenter of their own music.
Whether a critical person is cynical and pessimistic or open and optimistic about a band’s musical progress and direction, it is true that many bands sell out and disappoint with time. Perhaps time is on Mazzy Star’s hands. Most of those bands don’t have almost two decades of time in which nothing is spoiled. Or perhaps Mazzy Star’s talent, maturity and stubbornness is on their side. Concrete reasons aside, Mazzy Star’s return is a welcomed and celebrated one.