Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions Bavarian Fruit Bread

A much-delayed follow-up to last year's At The Doorway Again EP, Ms. Sandoval returns with a full-length album, and a wonderful piece of work it is. While Mazzy Star remains in a mysterious limbo, singer Hope Sandoval has teamed up with My Bloody Valentine's Colm O'Ciosoig to create the Warm Inventions. Sandoval's silky, lazy voice obviously conjures up the ghosts of Mazzy Star, but these songs have a very distinct feel. Instrumentation here is minimal: acoustic or gentle electric guitar, some organ, and almost no drums, which is odd considering this was O'Ciosoig's role in MBV, the reigning kings of mysterious limbos. This is dark, beautiful late-night music, a perfect companion to artists such as Low, Tram or Mojave 3. With obvious folk and country influences, Bavarian Fruit Bread takes its time, slowly meandering through gorgeous melodies with just the right amount of reverb in the production to give the overall sound a real sense of space. I suspect that the late Talk Talk albums played an influential role, most notably in "Clear Day," with its free flowing style and random harmonica work. There is a strong dreamlike quality to this album, especially on the closing track, "Lose Me On The Way," although almost every song succeeds in sounding smooth as velvet. Listening to this album is a warming experience and an excellent way to treat your ears. (Rough Trade)