Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions: Through the Devil Softly
Bob Burnett: I could sit here and twist and turn phrases about how much I like this album but found Boomkat's review says it all for me--albeit in a slightly goofy way--but we'll go with it:
"Having already listened to it a good two-dozen times we're pleased to report that "Through The Devil Softly" has ticked all boxes and has made us weak at the knees with its ethereal, swoonsome loveliness, keeping the formula largely (and thankfully) unchanged and delivering what we had very much hoped for: a continuation from pretty much where things were left off in 2001's "Bavarian Fruit Bread". Production and much of the instrumentation is once again handled by My Bloody Valentine's Colm Ó Cíosóig, adding a crucial layer of washed-out introspection to offset Sandoval's almost impossibly evocative voice. His handling of the arrangements and intense attention to detail allow these songs to work on several levels, once the initial sugar-rush of those melodies and that voice sink in, in comes another wave of emotional resonance, etching these songs to that place in your heart cordoned off for those special records you feel were written especially for you. Here's hoping we don't have to wait another eight years for the next fix. Magic."
I discovered this album quite by accident---and it's stuck with me ever since. The quiet intensity reminds me of everything I like about American Analog Set and a few other post-Velvets band who take the torch of their inspiration and run with it. The choice of instrumentation works well for me too, chiming acoustic guitars, brushed drums, harmonia and glockenspiel dips and dabs; lush but spacious sonics all around. I admire Hope Sandoval's ability to maintain control with her "career". She was on the verge of pop-superness with Mazzy Star in the early '90s. Instead she's gone in a direction that sees albums released on her own time, tours that take place in small, intimate venues and musicians around her who collaborate and create lasting and vital work. Here's a link from the album to give example to what I'm talking about.