YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


*** MAZZY STAR, "Among My Swan," Capitol

November 10, 1996|Natalie Nichols

Guitarist David Roback and singer Hope Sandoval have mastered the art of making moody records that aren't ponderous. Mazzy Star's dreamlike, Velvet Underground-esque vibe remains compelling on its third album, another perfect soundtrack for solitude. Producer Roback, who's been fond of fuzzed-out guitar licks since his days in the L.A. "Paisley Underground" band Rain Parade, heavily laces these 12 tracks with distortion, making "Among My Swan" a bit spookier than 1993's "So Tonight That I Might See" and 1990's "She Hangs Brightly."

A couple of songs begin to feel like a David Lynch film: vaguely romantic, vaguely eerie. The darkly psychedelic "Rose Blood" plays like a warped '50s torch ballad, as Roback's guitar oscillates ominously behind Sandoval's lush crooning. The chilling "Umbilical" leaves a similarly unsettling impression with its miasma of disorienting sounds and half-obscured vocals.

Although the atmosphere is aloof and spacey, Roback creates interesting musical textures throughout, and Sandoval's phantasmic deadpan never drones. Emotions are restrained but palpable on such tracks as the dramatic, mournful "Take Everything" and the subdued, yearning soul ballad "Look on Down From the Bridge." Not surprisingly, the most straight-forward number is the lilting first single, "I've Been Let Down," a gentle, acoustic-driven traveling song with a traditional country feel.


Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).

* TimesLine 808-8463

To hear excerpts from the albums reviewed, call TimesLine and press * and the artist's corresponding four-digit code. Mazzy Star *5716

In 805 area code, call (818) 808-8463.

Los Angeles Times Articles