You’d be excused for not knowing much about Mazzy Star.
Seasons of Your Day is the Californian duo’s first album since 1996. The duo was never that famous, cracking the Billboard Hot 100 only once with the sublime “Fade Into You.” But its distinct dream pop sound has been hugely influential with recent acts like festival favorites Beach House.
Mazzy Star picks back up exactly where it left off on this new album. Listening to it, you can barely tell that any time has passed since the duo’s prior work, given how fully the album embodies its signature sound. Seasons of Your Day contains 10 beautiful and fully realized tracks of hazy, country-inspired alternative rock all brought to life by singer Hope Sandoval’s dusky voice. Vocalists like Beach House’s Victoria Legrand and pop diva Lana Del Rey have tried to emulate Sandoval’s dreamy vocal style, but this album proves that after 17 years, no one does it quite like her.
Mazzy Star’s latest album is all about mood, featuring tunes to play as the day is winding down — airy and wistful yet full of melancholy. This is a mature album from musicians who are aging gracefully.
Later album cuts, such as “Spoon” or “Lay Myself Down,” show the group’s sound evolving into more blues-filled territories in ways that work well. The high points come early in the album, especially on the heartbreaking and quiet ballad “California.” Other times, the country influences take center stage in tracks like “Does Someone Have Your Baby Now,” on which Sandoval’s lovely voice combined with the steel guitar sounds like it could fit perfectly in a smoke-filled bar downtown.
The best song on the album comes midway in “Common Burn,” the duo’s first comeback single that it released in 2011. While Mazzy Star plays so softly it sounds as if it’s barely there, it may be the most striking moment the duo has created since “Fade Into You” nearly 20 years ago.
In Seasons of Your Day, the duo doesn’t miss a step since its hiatus. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait another 17 years to hear from Mazzy Star again.