quinta-feira, 10 de julho de 2014

Count my stars, let them shine

 I have been through many phases in which I become obsessed with a specific band/group or an album, or even an EP. Lately, I've been swinging between shoegaze and post-punk, but mostly shoegaze, as it is always.
Although the following band doesn't quite fit either the label of shoegaze or dream pop, this being because they have their own special, unique environment, they are often put in the "shoegaze/dream pop" group. This specific band is Mazzy Star, one that I've been familiar with for a few years now, listening to their three albums occasionally, from now and then, yet they became one of my most appreciated band that I listen to often now.
Why, you might ask (not really, I imagine)? I cannot tell you. Maybe I randomly chose them as a soundtrack to my study sessions in the last few months, since I have had exams until late June, and I rediscovered their own value and the little, precious treasure that is Hope Sandoval's voice. They are rarely pointed out as one person's favourite top bands, they are most likely that one really good band that doesn't leave that status, I guess.
Since I cannot really decide whether I should approach "She Hangs Brightly", "So Tonight I Might See" or "Among My Swan", I think I should make an essay on their sound and vibe, although it might be a much too vague "review", that is, if you can still call it a review.
Their debut album, released in 1990, probably the very beggining of shoegaze, takes a shape more raw, with Hope almost assuming a femme fatale role in her vocals, and the guitars, well, balancing and struggling between delicate and fierce sounds, having yet a tendency to weigh more on the wild, fierce side. I think Mazzy Star has mantained a sonority that swings from shyness and delicacy to sensuality and intensity. In this album they still adopt a very timid "behaviour". Still, the last songs from the album had a "darker" side to it, such as "Taste of Blood" or "That Highway".
And then, the 1993 album, "So Tonight I Might See" opens up with the ultimate enigmatic love song "Fade Into You". And I didn't choose enigmatic randomly, because this is the keyword to the rest of the album, in which you notice a withdrawn attitude, and by this I mean, a more impersonal type of sound, maybe taking the album to a higher level. I find this album a little bit more ethereal and abstract compared to "She Hangs Brightly" because they group had matured by then. They were seeking, probably, a deeper type of sonority, perhaps focusing really in music and not so much on expressing yourself directly and in a sort of "hot-headed" way.
Lastly, "Among My Swan" is probably my favourite album, and since it is my favourite album it is the most difficult one to talk about, to fully express my feelings and thoughts towards it, although I love them all, but it has the right amount of shyness and sensuality that I have mentioned earlier. Hope Sandoval and David Roback know exactly what they are doing. The mixture of folk, dream pop and those noisy yet seductive shoegaze guitars is genius and really well put together. Everything is exactly as it should be. Keeping always a very melancholic atmosphere, yet going from narratives to first person lyrics, the kind of music you'd love to listen to on a rainy day, yet it would also fit in a summer sunny day. As I said before, it is the most difficult album for me to talk about because it is heavy with meaning to me and I feel like it is very very similar to "So Tonight I Might See", yet it takes a much more brooding character to it.

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