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on 25 September 2009
Through the Devil Softly - which was released today in Germany and comes out in the UK on Monday - is the second album from Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions, following three albums from the Hope-fronted Mazzy Star.

The music sounds even more woozy & muffled & stripped down than ever. Away with the cutsy glockenspiel, harmonica and trumpet from Bavarian Fruit Bread and in with the banjo plucking and more slide guitar. But Hope doesn't stray from her core sound; these 11 tracks feel like a natural continuation of the sound that has accompanied her since the early 1990s: languid, weary vocals, simple guitar-strumming, and an atmosphere of waking up from druggy sleep with your head still full of dreams.

The best description of her music that I've heard over the years is that of a cat stretching its paws out after the tenth nap of the day on a huge puffy bed. The curtains are reacting to the soft wind, and there are no clocks pulling you back into the monotony of work and day-to-day chores. There is simply the hazy "now" in which you can drift and drift.

Of course there will always be people who don't get her music - either with David Roback in Mazzy Star or here with My Bloody Valentine drummer Colm Ó Cíosóig. I remember NME calling the first Warm Inventions record "a piece of morphine-induced self-indulgence" and someone else saying that it was just "glorified mood music". What I think they don't get - and I'm aware this might sound absurd to some - is that it's not just music, it expresses and represents a way of life. Listening to and treasuring songs like 'Fade Into You' and 'Take Everything' means not wanting to be a part of the rush and push of these work- and speed-obsessed times. It means not worrying about the passing of time or the inevitability of getting older (Hope said herself in a rare interview given recently that "I don't really notice the time. We don't keep track of the days and months. And the years.").

This album was recorded over the last few years in Northern California and the countryside of Wicklow County, Ireland (with only cows, a lake and a little pub for company, says Ó Cíosóig). Hope has also said that Mazzy Star are still together and a fourth album is "nearly finished". This autumn she's touring the USA and Europe with The Warm Inventions, ending the stretch of dates on the 8th November at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Hope - it's great to have you back!

Standouts (IMO): Blue Bird ("let me go..."), Trouble, Blanchard, Wild Roses
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VINE VOICEon 30 September 2009
This is perfect chill out music for those who love the darker things in life. Listening to this, i yearned for rain lashing at the windows, cold nights and the company of someone black clad and delicious. beautifully strange and strangely beautiful this is a much needed addition to most eclectic collections. Guitar is more prominent on this album than the Mazzy Star offerings, with some laid back, almost bluesy slide. Hope Sandoval's breathy but powerfully haunting voice drifts and swoops, in, out, around and above the melody. The addition of cello and drums creats a syncopated and langourous heart beat. The entire album is very similar in tempo and tone but this is not a criticism. this is music to put you in a trance like, languid and happy mood. quite simply beautiful.
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VINE VOICEon 21 August 2010
I bought this when it came out and was a little underwhelmed. I'm glad I didn't review it at that point because I would have given a wrong opinion. Like the first album this is a real grower. The tracks are very subtle and the 'hooks' are almost impossible to identofy on first hearing. I keep coming back to it time and again. It's beautifully relaxed but without ever lacking interest. In fact I think I marginally prefer it to the first Warm Inventions album! Which is saying something....
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on 4 January 2011
It is midnight, and the rain is lashing at the windows. Well, it is not midnight and it is not raining, but that is the ambience created by this wonderful record, which sees dulcet-throated chanteusse Hope Sandoval (frontwoman of 90s dream pop darlings Mazzy Star) team up with My Bloody Valentine's drummer Colm Ó Cíosóig to create some of the loveliest soundscapes you could ever wish to hear. It's a sparse sound - guitar, bass and muted percussion, complimented by the odd bit of keyboard, harmonica or fiddle - which gives the vocals light years of space to float around in. It's perfectly suited to Sandoval's hushed, heartbroken whisper and recalls the darker moments of Mazzy Star's second opus So Tonight That I Might See. Fans of Isobel Campbell's recent work with Mark Lanegan will find much to love here, as will those who enjoy Cat Power's fractured, donwbeat ballads. It's a perfect record for the winter months, one to play alone with whilst sitting in front of the fire, drowning in a bottle of bourbon and thinking wistful thoughts of former lovers as the whole world freezes and the snow tumbles down outside. Admittedly there's not much mainstream appeal here and if you're looking for a party album packed with singalong hits then you're way off the mark, but if you're after the perfect soundtrack to lose yourself in an hour of quiet contemplation, your search ends here.
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on 12 November 2009
Hope Sandoval's second album once again captures her sublime dreamy voice and carries on where Bavarian Fruitbread left off. It should please Mazzy Star fans but she has definitely created her own sound.I loved listening to new album and its been worth the long wait. Although for me Hope can do no wrong. Kev D
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on 29 September 2009
I first heard this lady on the Mazzy Star track "All Your Sisters", it reminded me of something Velvet Underground & Nico might have done at their peak - I was that impressed!! I have followed this lady's career since, the beautiful "Cherry Blossom Girl" with Air included. This album will not disappoint Hope Sandoval fans, I was worried that it might sound a bit samey, but trackes like "For the Rest of Your Life" with its ambient bass sound give that little bit of variety. The album doesn't need too much variety, for that is Hope's strength, continuity of mood. Buy and enjoy!
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on 28 December 2014
Heavenly.
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on 5 January 2015
Great.
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on 31 January 2012
OK, Hope Sandoval is lovely and has a lovely voice, (an antidote to the decadent skanks of mainstream pop, like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Madonna) but this is just so bland and samey and way too minimal. Mazzy Star got the blend just right: minimal and atmospheric, but tuneful and engaging. This is all atmosphere, but lacks the tunes and engagement.
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on 19 January 2010
Didn't know the music before I ordered it. Went on a hunch after reading a press review of the album. Pleasant and atmospheric, but monotonous if you listen to the whole thing in one go.
I do like Amazon for downloads, though. A great range of music and downloading always seems to go smoothly.
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