Never underestimate the power of artists to hit you over the head with a brilliant record. I've had two this month. The first is Brendan Perry's sweeping epic Ark, which has been almost a decade in the making. And you can hear why when you listen to it . . . lush landscapes . . . a plethora of deep topics . . . everything that made a Brendan song in DCD far above anything else in the same genre. Here, he blends the deep waters of Eye of the Hunter with the epic sound of his best DCD work and it creates a CD not to be missed.
With the 2nd, unlike Brendan's disc, which I have been anticipating for the last two years, Hope Sandoval and her group The Warm Inventions, completely blindsided me with an album that rivals, if not surpasses, her best Mazzy Star work. Through The Devil Softly is EVERYTHING you wanted from Mazzy's whole career and then some. In some instances, like "Blanchard" and "Wild Roses", she dabbles into mellower Sundays and Cowboy Junkies territory with songs that flow around your ears and fill the room (with the right speakers). Other songs like "For the Rest of Your Life, " "Lady Jessica and Sam" and "Sets a Blaze" remind us what promise Mazzy Star had and why this collection is called Through the Devil Softly . . . very haunting and eerily beautiful.
I highly recommend both of these releases. Do pick them up if you have the inclination.