Hope Sandoval may not have the one of the best voices in music, but it’s certainly one of the most memorable.
Personally, I dig the fact that Hope Sandoval—in over two decades of performing—has only moved a few inches stylistically. She sounds just as baked on Through The Devil Softly, her second solo album, as she did on Mazzy Star‘s debut She Hangs Brightly.
But if you listen closely, there’s a hint of defeat. No longer young enough to qualify as the psychedelic chanteuse, Sandoval has aged into a complex middle-aged woman who’s beginning to take a stand and ditch the baggage of her past.
Up to and including the shady old man she’s shacked up with: On “Blanchard,” Sandoval’s realization isn’t a light bulb switch—that would be too quick—it’s a slow dimmer switch of enlightenment. “All those times you sent my brother down your road / Holding on to the dope that you sold,” she recounts, before figuring out “I knew then we could never be blessed.”
You can practically hear the screen door bang against the frame as she’s on her way out for good.
It’s slow going and you’ll need time to let Through The Devil Softly fully sink it. Thankfully, Sandoval’s voice is so unique that you’ll keep returning to it. And because she’s channeling the same “Moonlight Drive” atmosphere that’s been her vibe since day one, Through The Devil Softly feels as comfortable as Robby Krieger’s fringe leather jacket.
Or Dave Roback‘s.