Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions – Through the Devil Softly
A great record, and long in the gestation, Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval and MBV’s Colm Ó Ciosóig reunite after eight years to bring us Through the Devil Softly.
This is a very elegant recording that seems to dispense with time and space; opener Blanchard has a feel of Skip Spence or even Julian Cope’s Fried tracks. There’s an economy of playing on this LP that is very appealing indeed, especially the brilliant balance between very sparse (and diverse) instrumentation. Take, for instance Wild Roses, where a lonesome mouth accordion slices through the web of acoustic guitars. Or the beautiful guitar scrapes trading off against the rumbling bass loop on For the Rest of Your Life.
The LP really picks up in the second half. That’s not to say the first bit’s not great, but there’s a great woozy feel to the last few tracks that is utterly addictive. There’s a Willow is a sub Velvet-Underground strum par excellence, and Trouble is a Drive In Saturday-style vignette - albeit at 2mph - with Sandoval really stretching out the lazy diva role for all she’s worth. And what a tail out… Topping even that is the best track on the LP, Blue Bird with its lonesome country blues shuffle.
Well worth picking up.
Words: Richard Foster