“I want to hold the hand inside you / I want to take a breath that’s true / I look to you and I see nothing / I look to you to see the truth.” Perhaps no song better captures the sound of a certain time and place than Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You.” A tendril of the Paisley Underground scene that infiltrated Los Angeles in the ‘80s, Mazzy Star remain beloved for their fuzzy guitar workouts, their sleepy, velvet-draped ennui, and the beauty and mystery of ethereal frontwoman and lyricist Hope Sandoval.
After releasing three albums in the ‘90s, multi-instrumentalist David Roback and Sandoval branched out with various solo projects before reconvening for 2013’s Seasons Of Your Day, their first album in 17 years. Five years later, Still serves as the next entry, a four-track EP that takes up right where their discography left off.
“Quiet, The Winter Harbor” opens the EP with Roback’s piano, a plaintive, melancholy tone that stands alone until Sandoval’s signature vocals come in. It’s a familiar sound—Sandoval’s voice hasn’t aged a day—but it isn’t until the melty slide guitar comes in that the Mazzy Star sound is complete. As always, the effect is sleepily romantic, yet disassociated—causing you to feel everything and nothing at all as the waltz tempo is kept by the gentlest tapping on the hi-hat.
For years, Roback and Sandoval have stuck close to this template, mixing elements of psych, post-punk, acoustic singer-songwriter and melty, sun-dappled guitars to hypnotic effect. “That Way Again” and “Still” are no different, the warm acoustic guitar, open air, and Sandoval’s diary-poet lyrics of the best of their ‘90s albums.
Closing the EP is a rework of “So Tonight That I Might See,” the title track of their 1993 LP. This one washed with organ and reverb to the other’s drone and stomp, Sandoval’s child-like vocals still sounding like the chant of a mantra. They tack on nearly a minute, but also a knowingness. It’s a nice look back that also manages to ground the rest of the work in context.
While the sound hasn’t changed much, neither has the impact of the music that they’ve mastered. 28 years later, Mazzy Star can still create a hell of a mood, their dark romanticism and California sounding anything but dated.