Mazzy Star has always felt like an enigma, more a relic than a physical entity that had ever actually existed. Having disbanded in 1996 theirs was a name more likely to be seen on the influence list of a younger artist than on a brightly lit marquee. All that nostalgia slipped away this past July when the band announced their first new studio effort in 17 years, titled, Seasons of Your Day.
A lot can change in seventeen years, but the remarkable thing about Seasons of Your Day is how it feels perfectly pulled from the band’s ‘90s heyday. From the slide guitar to the intimate vocal delivery to the rounded ethereal production, it’s all there and it’s all spot on. While this description makes it sound as if the record is pining for a time that’s long gone it feels much more like a natural continuation of the band’s creative output than an homage.
Take for example the album’s opening track, “In the Kingdom,” which, with its slide guitar work, sounds like a less downtrodden “Fade Into You;” replacing the acoustic guitar with big, resonant Hammond organ chords.
Then there are songs like “Common Burn:” its guitar tone alone lends the song a sense of lonesome weariness and desperation, a feeling only reinforced by the gentle cooing of Hope Sandoval on top; “Let me hang around / Even if it’s just a way to have some common burn.”
While the record is no homage, it’s clearly rooted in ’60s and ‘70s nostalgia (though this has been a constant theme for the band even in their prime, when those decades weren’t long gone). The guitar on the album’s closer “Flying Low” sounds like someone stripped Neil Young of his Les Paul and instead gave him a slide guitar. It’s a strong closer and fittingly vamps its way into nothingness.
Though the record shows that Mazzy Star may not have lost anything in their 17 year hiatus, they also haven’t gained much. All of the songs on Seasons of Your Day are good, but they don’t push themselves further than the band’s earlier work. That’s a risky move for a group as steeped in legacy and heritage as Mazzy Star, but more than a decade and a half away from the spotlight seems as though it should yield some semblance of growth. With that said, Seasons of Your Day is dark, sexy, and oh so Mazzy Star, and you can’t ask for much more than that.