May 28, 2018 Mazzy Star – Still (EP Review)
A perfectly preserved time capsule balances on the tongues of gen-Xers; watching a concert through the screen of the smartphone in front of them, they sing along to the “play” button on a laptop. The obligatory nostalgia lies invisible and patient, waiting for the moment someone takes a chance, swallowing themselves into the decade of CDs, frosty-tipped hair, Grunge Rock, and puka shells. Succumb to total nineties immersion through the plastic lens of a disposable Fujifilm and the duo of psychotropic simplicity known as Mazzy Star. Releasing their Still EP via Rhymes Of An Hour Records on Friday, June 1, 2018, the band knows not the confines of time.
Cali natives Hope Sandoval (vocals) and David Roback (guitar, piano) molded Mazzy Star from the dissolving pieces of Roback’s previous band, Opal, in 1989. The soothing vocals of a young Sandoval were the prism of underground and innocence, capturing both past and present era alongside Sonic Youth, The Sundays, and Yo La Tengo. After three studio albums and an imprisoning label contract, Mazzy Star took over a decade-long hiatus (minus one mini-tour in 2000) allowing Sandoval to form Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions and lend vocals to various collabs with Massive Attack, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Chemical Brothers, and more. Then, 2014’s Seasons Of Your Day was the breath of fresh Mazzy fans so eagerly desired. Following, like all too-good things, the talks of new material fizzled into total, silent, halt. Still is the duo’s first release since a lone 7 inch single on Record Store Day in 2014, and fans are very aware of this.
“Quiet, The Winter Harbour” opens the EP with melancholy piano and Sandoval’s ageless daydream-y vocals. Whisking listeners into a haven of comfort alongside mournful lyrics, Sandoval draws fans right back to the days of 1990’s She Hangs Brightly. The track is both syrupy flashback and spectacular glimpse of what could be in store for a future full length. Swimming in sultry slow-mo, the track quietly tapers off at just over four minutes.
Roback’s bewitching Blues guitar permeates the delicacy of “That Way Again,” refining the already-superb tune with new bits of brilliance for each time it is heard. Sandoval smoothes over the bluesy morose with healing salve and self-promise in lyrics “never gonna think of him/that way again.” Roback and Sandoval are two halves of a symbiotic whole, 30 years in the making.
Still concludes with the Ascension Version of 1993’s “So Tonight That I Might See.” A lithe and modern remake of the original, replacing tambourine with organ and ultra-ambient vibes. The four-song EP is a diamond in the overproduced and under-talented rough of musicians that have somehow reached popularity. Sandoval’s voice remains fluid and effortless, while Roback’s old-school roots bloom opulent with contemporary trends. Still is Mazzy Star’s kaleidoscope for new generations, breathing life back into the decade of their prime. That is why CrypticRock gives this album 5 out of 5 stars.