Among My Swan was Mazzy Star's third album, and is far closer to So Tonight That I Might See in feel and sound than She Hangs Brightly. The music is the same dreamy and fuzzy psychedelic folk that has given the band, and the two key figures Hope Sandoval and David Roback such well deserved praise amongst those that have been lucky enough to come across their work.
It's possible to apply the term gothic to Mazzy Star, although not in the awful Marilyn Manson vein, but rather an American Gothic feeling. It's a set of sweetly melancholy songs sung in Hope’s quiet and absolutely angelic voice - but it's pretty hard to fathom what they're about. Although not as cryptic as, say, R.E.M. there's a mystery to this album aided by its ethereal sound. It's certainly the kind of album that sounds like the life and times of a woman with a penchant for flowing dresses, who would owns a flock of swans to watch them on an evening, from a weather worn veranda of a country house.
It's a shame that this band never became more famous above ground, although it seems that the extreme shyness of Hope and David would have prevented that from ever happening. They absolutely loathe interviews, to a point where it begins to get absurd. Possibly because of all this, it shines as a gem of a record, just the right amount of an air of obscurity about it and its makers to constantly remain intriguing. Fans are not too common, although everyone I’ve introduced them to has become enamoured with them.
The sound borrows from The Velvet Underground and is similar to other bands such as The Jesus and Mary Chain (who Hope has worked with in the past giving guest vocals), Galaxie 500 or The Sundays. As a whole the balance works between the quiet and the louder tracks. An album of just one form of tracks or another would not work nearly as well, but we’re fortunate to have a perfectly constructed set of songs. Since they used to be romantically involved, there’s a sense of that on the album, as if coming to terms with the break-up has coloured the record. Certainly, She Hangs Brightly was more of a positive album in its own way, as it was pre-split. But since this was felt the most in the songs of So Tonight That I Might See, the pair have mostly got it out of their system. Still, there is a sense of loss about it, but I think that’s because the two are romantic, and the pay off for that kind of life is a tragedy.
After making this album, Mazzy Star have not produced another album. Although the band haven’t broken up officially, they remain fairly silent. Rumours persist of a follow up, but this may probably be the last we hear of them. Hope has started a side project - Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions. So far one album’s been released called Bavarian Fruitbread, and a small tour done. Of course you should get that too.
In short, this is one of those great albums that are easy to fall in love with. There’s nothing quite like it, and with the other two albums, Mazzy Star form a little world of their own. You owe it to yourself to go and visit them there.
- Disappear (4:04)
- Flowers In December (4:58)
- Rhymes Of An Hour (4:13)
- Cry, Cry (3:58)
- Take Everything (4:54)
- Still Cold (4:48)
- All Your Sisters (5:17)
- Iìve Been Let Down (3:17)
- Roseblood (4:51)
- Happy (3:59)
- Umbilical (4:59)
- Look On Down From The Bridge (4:47)
Released :October 29, 1996
Label :Capitol Records
Producer :David Roback
Co-Producer :Hope Sandoval
Run Time :54:07 min
Album Design :Mazzy Star
Notes :Hope Sandoval - Vocals, Harmonica & Percussion
David Roback - Guitars, Keyboards & Other Instruments
William Cooper - Strings
Keith Mitchell - Drums
Jill Emery - Bass
William Reid - Additional Guitar on "Take Everything" appears courtesy of American Records
Aaron Sherer - Drums on "Take Everything" and "Still Cold"
All songs written by Hope Sandoval and David Roback
Sand Devil Music / Salley Gardens Publishing (BMI)
Hope Sandoval - Words and Vocal Melodies
Engineered by Dale Everingham, David Roback and William Cooper
Production Crew - Tom Cashen
Mastered by Eddy Schreyer
Lookout Management: Frank Gironda & Elliot Roberts
Art Production Assistant - Heather van Haaften
Photography - Beth Herzhaft
Thanks - Ron Sandoval
Information from the website Mazzy Star Boulevard - http://www.mazzystar.nu