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4.5 out of 5 stars34
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 18 August 2000
OK, guitar-based ballads-don't you just hate the connotations? There are so few artists who make this stuff without making the listener yawn, they should be set in stone for the world to see. And so are Mazzy Star with "Among My Swan", their best release to date. Truly one of the most touching and emotional albums of the musically prolific 90's. This is no stretch. So unique, so mellow and dark at one, this is one of the best albums for autumn/winter I know ( along with Lamb's debute, Nick Cave's "Boatman Call" and "Turn Loose The Swans" by My Dying Bride). Whether you're listening to it on your way to work at 7 AM or in your room with a bottle of Baileys, November night, raining outside, phone's off the hook...well you know the setting, this is an unforgettable experience. Tracks like "Cry Cry", "Take Everything", "Happy" and "I've Been Let Down" can be either the most uplifting or the most depressing songs in the world, depending on your mood at the moment. "All Your Sisters" is probably the spookiest number ever done by a soft rock act. "Disappear" and "Umbilical", with their guitar-driven dark psychedelia could make the late Syd Barett himself wipe a bitter tear. The bottomline: if you still don't own it, get it whatever the cost is. You're missing a world within itself.
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on 6 December 2001
I'd never even heard of Mazzy Star before I caught the 'Flowers In December' music video on MTV. I thought nothing much of the song until a full three days later when I realised it was all I was thinking about, secretly humming it in the back of my brain. So I bought the album and was surprised by the subtle brilliance of it.
Singer Hope Sandoval has one of the most gothic and beautiful voices in modern music and this is what makes the album so great. The music itself is laid back and mostly provides a backdrop for Sandoval and her haunting lyrics.
This isn't hard rock but you get the sense that if Mazzy Star ever made such an album it would be pretty damn good. Roseblood is a good example of this with its raucous guitar turned right down to minimum volume and the song's overall desire to shout in the form of whispering.
Perfect for depressed teenagers or anyone who likes down songs that somehow make you feel good about yourself. Highlights on the album are Flowers in December, Take Everything, Rhymes of An Hour (wasted in a naff movie, Stealing Beauty in 1995) and Roseblood. A movie critic once called a film he saw 'quietly explosive'. That, I think, is the perfect description for this little album.
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'Among My Swan' is the Mazzy Star album you should own. To me, it's where the balance between Hope Sandoval's cool, sombre vocal tones and David Roback's simple arrangements combine to produce something that is far greater than the sum of its parts. On a cursory listen, some may find this intensely melancholic music depressing, or even boring; to me, it's music that demands your full attention, and creates subtly contrasting moods of emotional desolation, abandonment and loss. It's a record that creates it's own world. 'Flowers In December', for example, is an absolute delight, needing little more than Sandoval's appealing and melodic vocal, gently strummed acoustic guitar and plaintive harmonica to evoke an atmosphere of aching, of yearning, that is so, well, perfect, that I find mere words incapable of expressing just how wonderful it is. 'Still Cold' is comparatively harsh, but is a good example of how Roback layers up a track deftly to achieve a profound cumulative effect. Some may find the album too downbeat, but for those willing to devote only a little time and trouble, it's an album that delivers rich rewards. A classic
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on 5 October 2001
I find it hard to believe that it was January 1999 when i first bought this CD. I was on a Sunday's website and many people recommended this band. It proved to be the best album I had bought for many years. The first track 'disappear' is in my one of the best songs of all time clearly - the haunting, smokey exotic vocals are unworldly and the wonderful guitar playing by David Roback is sensational. flowers in december was a beautiful single and cry, cry has a very laid-back feel with slide guitars and effects-pedal aplenty. 'Take Everything' is a brilliant track with an amazing slide-solo and has a countrified/ bluesy feel to it. Contrasted to their earlier work this album is less experimental - this is a good thing. A few later tracks such as umbilical I find hard to listen to, but Happy is almost grungey but melodic too and this adds another string to this albums large bow! The last track look on down from the bridge is haunting but a wonderfully beautiful track. Hope sandoval is probably the wrolds greatest unknown singer. Judging by her solo efforts, this may not be the case for very much longer! A brilliant must-buy album.
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on 14 November 2014
It's sort of like a romantic George Thorogood and The Destroyers; smooth guitar, rhythmic bass and drums with a soft croon over the top. Nice, non-challenging music, without becoming anthemic.
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on 30 September 2014
This is a great album, hence the 4 stars.

Unfortunately Amazon's piece of crap digital music website refuses to include it in my digital music library so I can't download it. Don't waste your money buying a digital copy here. Buy the CD from a record store (remember them?) and rip it yourself.
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on 14 October 2010
Mazzy Star layer each song's ingredients beautifully, topping each one off with Hope's sultry vocals. There's probably little I can add to the reviews already here to describe what it sounds like. Everyone's got it pretty spot on.

BTW, as well as Hope's solo efforts (also fantastic), she did vocal duty on two songs on Death In Vegas' "Scorpio Rising" album, one of which closes the record and is on a par with Mazzy Star's finest efforts.
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on 23 February 2016
Love the music,a real chill out album. I know that one should only
review the actual music but I feel I must comment on the vinyl record which I purchased. It was terrible,popping and crackling on almost every track. I bought it last week for 19.98 and it is now 33 pounds, go figure that out. Anyway arrived today and going back tomorrow, getting the CD instead. Update, now down to 21.74 with auto rip.
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on 10 May 2016
I picked this one up having heard looking down from the bridge in the Sopranos. Really moving song for sure. Again, as before, very specif sound which is good and always present a delicate balance in their songs which i really like. Not music for everyday which again is the appeal I have for them.
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on 25 June 2015
Absolutely mesmerizing, with all the haunting beauty of "Fade into you". One to listen to time and again, and each time find something new in the harmonics and atmosphere of each song.
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