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Through the Devil Softly

4.6 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 29, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Since the release of Mazzy Star s debut album She Hangs Brightly, Hope Sandoval has defined the sound
and style of California psychedelic dream pop. The world took notice when the surprise breakthrough
single, Fade Into You, hit the airwaves and heavy rotation at MTV. Sandoval s trademark vocals and
beauty helped to make her a modern day music icon. Now the revered singer returns with her long awaited
post-Mazzy Star sophomore album, Through The Devil Softly.
Since her time with Mazzy Star, the sought after vocalist has collaborated with artists from across the
musical landscape: The Jesus & Mary Chain, Air, Death in Vegas, The Chemical Brothers, Massive Attack
and Bert Jansch.

In 2001 she joined Colm Ó Cíosóig (of My Bloody Valentine), and backing Irish band Dirt Blue Gene, to
form Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions, and released their debut Bavarian Fruit Bread.
Now on Through The Devil Softly, the definitive star of the Paisley Underground scene reignites her
trademark sound in an epic journey across the 11 song album. The project continues the laid-back, slowcore
sound they are renowned for and places Sandoval s sensuous, hypnotic voice in the forefront. Recorded at
home in Berkley, the spare, subtle arrangements reinforce Sandoval s gentle vocal style.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 29, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nettwerk Records
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,782 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I heard some of the songs prior to the official album release date and was immediately "sold". First, these songs feel like a road trip into the darkest corner of Miss. Sandoval's mind...the mood here is atmospheric & Spellbinding with a capital "S". In particular, I found the songs "For the rest of your life" and "Blanchard" captivating. Despite having lost nearly a decade, the band has refined their sound with Sandoval's voice continuing to highlight her unbridled sensuality. Do I recommend this album you ask? I do, I do, I do and can only praise this singer for the air of mystique she creates in her music. This is psychedelia fused with folk and trip hop-an experimental masterpiece.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Hope Sandoval's voice has floored me, since I first heard MAZZY STAR's "So Tonight That I Might See". Being a fan of Hope's voice is frustrating. For the duraton of Hope's 19 year singing career, she has only released 5 albums, this being her second solo album after a 9 year hiatis. Then again, quality over quanity has its own merits. And here we see the merits in full bloom. When you spin the CD, you notice Hope's voice has lost none of its mystical, morphia slow quality. On this album, that quality is embellished with waltzes, (3/4 time), or singing the song ribato, with gaps in the flow and orchestration of the song. Most of the songs use this device of shifting downbeat, thru the layering of various time signatures over the drums, fading in and out electric guitar echos, or marimba punctuations, so that the timing of the songs is hard to determine. Overall, this reinforces that dreamy, slowed down observation of time, that is undoubtedly Hope Sandoval's trademark sound. The overall effect is staggering. Far from sounding like dated dream-pop, from the early 80s paisley underground, this album updates the sound, matures it, and offers it with a totally mature vision. (Just to set the record straight, HOPE never really was part of a paisley underground, as much as Dave Robach was. OPEL and the DREAM SYNDICATE, 80s bands long before Hope's singing, and before MAZZY STAR, are the real Paisley Underground, new wavey sound. MAZZY STAR evolved from the mass market recognition of alternative music, after Grunge broke mainstream).

THRU THE DEVIL SOFTLY's songs range in orchestration from a full band sound, with drums, acoustic and electric guitars, bass and marimba, to broken up elements of this vision.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is not a Mazzy Star album, that's for sure but still, Hope Sandoval finds beatiful, tricky and simple ways to get you with her songs and her proyect here. The first half of the record is exactly what I was expecting from her: mellow melodies, trance periods and breathing sadness all over the place (Blanchard, Wild roses, Lady Jessica and Sam and Set the blaze are the example) Now, it is fair to point out one particular song on the first half of the record: "For the rest of your life". Here the music structure is awesome. The bass line kind of thing is waird and yet well fit for the mood of the song and the electric guitar reminds me to what bands like The Cure or even Radiohead would do. Strangely beautiful for sure. On the other hand, when you arrive to "Trouble" and "Fall aside" the real fun starts. Beautiful, beautiful songs that take me back more to what Sandoval used to do with Mazzy Star. I automatically felt in love with these two songs when I listened to them.

All this aside, I must point out above everything the exquisite voice that Ms. Hope Sandoval still has. Beautiful, stunning voice that in my humble opinion next to Natalie Merchant (10'000 maniacs) and Tori Amos defined how a real singer acrually sang a song back in the 90's.

Welcome back Hope!
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Format: Audio CD
I don't listen to Hope Sandoval when I'm happy. No, Hope's cds are playing when it's a lonesome autumn night, stars are in the sky, I'm thinking of that girl I used to know, and the bottle of Pinot is getting near empty. Why sleep when those memories are gonna keep you up anyway? So I hit repeat, and sink into the soft caress of The Warm Inventions one more time...

That's the funny thing about sad music: it's almost homeopathic in the way that through reflecting your emotions, it makes everything seem ok. Well, if not ok, at least better. Sadness often comes with its close cousin, loneliness, and oh-so-down music offers the reassurance that, a.), you're not alone in this, and b.), look at the beauty that can come from it.

Like Tom Waits' "Early Years", Nick Drake's "Pink Moon" or The Velvet Underground's 3rd album, Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions' latest, "Through the Devil Softly", is what you play when you need an album that will put its arm around your shoulder and hold you close. Like those albums, the performances here are incredibly intimate; this is not music that jumps out of your speakers; rather, it's music that casts a spell through its softness, its fragility, its restraint, and the way it flows through your body like liquid morphine. It's a sound where you actually hear fingers sliding on strings, where the vocals seem to be whispered straight into your ear, and where a single drum hit echoes like a gunshot in the forest...

Playing Hope's latest, my first impression was that it sounded a lot like her last one, "Bavarian Fruit Bread", also with The Warm Inventions. Now if there were dozens of vocalists out there doing this sound, that might bother me, but there aren't.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


Topic From this Discussion
Can I Withstand It?
I'm not offended; I'd also like to hear much more from our reclusive muse, but I'll take whatever she&the Warm Inventions give us. How long have we been waiting for this? I'm prepared to wait a decade for the next and be just as eager to get it.
Sep 23, 2009 by Roger Reynolds |  See all 2 posts
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