Not until I read the product description on Amazon.com have I ever heard Hope Sandoval's music referred to as California psychedelic dream pop, but it has a really nice ring to it.
Through the Devil Softly is the second full length CD by Hope & The Warm Inventions since Bavarian Fruit Bread in 2001. I still wonder what Hope has been up to for the past eight years. I know she has done a few things from time to time with different bands, but until recently nothing major.
There are three songs off this CD that are available in a single format. "Blanchard" can be downloaded from iTunes, "Wild Roses" is on an Air France soundtrack and "Trouble" is a free download for those who sign up for Hopes newsletter at http://www.hopesandoval.com/home.shtml or on her myspace page. She also has a Facebook fan page to get information as well. Technology today gets the word out there pretty quick. Hope will be out on tour for the next couple months. Once again as it seems ever band I want to see decides to pass up on Kansas City and go from Denver to Minneapolis or Chicago. So Hope, I hope you decide to fit us in along the way, I would love to see you live.
"Blanchard" is the first song on the CD and it would certainly come across as California psychedelic dream pop to me. A good mellow tune that will lead to what will be a lot more of them along the way. This is a nice song to start the CD off with. "Wild Rose" is just as dark and is one that can be heard on the Air France CD. Another really nice song to hear.
"For the Rest of Your Life" has a haunting sort of glow to it with almost a chanting voice coming from hope. The electric guitar sort of rings out through the song. A beautiful song with a dark side to it.
"Lady Jessica and Sam" keeps the mellowness going with Hope and an acoustic guitar playing. A nice song with good guitar work and Hopes beautiful voice fills your ears. "Sets the Blaze" adds some different instruments and some backing vocals, the violin plays another nice melody finishing off with a windy sort of coldness.
Listening to this CD isn't going to get you to jump out of your chair and dance a jig, but maybe a nice cigar or glass of scotch with this on in the background would be suited fine. I personally like to listen as I work. It gives me a nice calming feeling as I listen through it.
"Thinking Like That" is another Hope plus acoustic with a continuous pattern for the first half and adds a few instruments and a little more sound. sort of makes me feel like I'm halfway between a musical concert and a symphony mix. "There's a Willow" brings back an electric guitar with a classic old style sound to it, kind of that 50's beat of the mellow sort and echoness to it.
"Trouble" gives you the full band sound again with the hauntingness to it. I almost feel like it's going to jump from the mellow tones into a raging California beach sound, but it stays mellow with Hope and gets a little speed and goes right back, very balladry, if that's a word.
"Fall Aside" I think has Hope playing the Glockenspiel at the start, unless it's someone else. My guess is it is Hope. Same vocal tempo as most of the CD. Pretty nice little song, almost makes me want to get up and March around. "Bluebird" makes me feel like something out of Pink Floyd's "The Final Cut". A good song that just keeps moving and still remains in place.
The CD finishes off with "Satellite". As you hear the start you wonder what is going on. It has a sort of a feel like you are listening to a 45rpm from the old days. Different but pretty cools sound. I'm sure that was the effect they were going for.
Overall as I said before, this is one you want to listen to as you are just hanging out and doing stuff. Maybe put it on with some candles going in the low light or maybe listen to at your office so you keep your blood pressure down.
I know Hope likes to play live in a soft lit room with the lights coming from behind. I think that as you listen to her you just imagine what a beautiful person it is up there that you can't see. She really is a beautiful person and has an outstanding voice. This is a CD I would recommend as well as her works with Mazzy Star and the first CD Bavarian Fruit Bread. Also check out "Sometimes Always" with The Jesus and Mary Chain on Stones and Dethroned Hope sounds awesome!
Please pick up the CD and support the Band, it's a brilliant one and a must to have in the collection.
Hope - Please come to Kansas City, I would love to see you perform.
Here's the track listing of the new CD:
Through The Devil Softly
3.For The Rest Of Your Life
4.Lady Jessica and Sam
5.Sets The Blaze
6.Thinking Like That
7.There's A Willow