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Bavarian Fruit Bread

Hope Sandoval And The Warm Inventions
Bavarian Fruit Bread
(Rough Trade)

"Fade Into You" is one of those songs that just about everyone will recognize, but a majority of people have no clue who actually performed the song. Unless you were listening to Mazzy Star back in the early 1990s, there was really no reason for you to know, either. The track was featured in so many movies and television shows that it became sort of a ubiquitous track for highlighting a particularly moment in which a boy and girl were just about to embrace, but maybe a little unsure of whether they should.

If you were a fan of that group, you probably already know that Sandoval basically has one trick and she works it well. She never sings anything in too much of a hurry, and every word drifts out in a hazy, seductive sort of way. Those hoping for more of the same on this release will be happy to know that with her new group Hope Sandoval And The Warm Inventions, she keeps on the same path she has been. Unfortunately, that's also where the problem comes in, as over the course of 12 tracks and almost 50 minutes of music, there are hardly any dynamics to hold the listeners attention.

I'll be the first to admit that Mazzy Star as a group wasn't exactly known for their musical dynamics, although they did manage to keep things fairly interesting (especially on their She Hangs Brightly release. On the other hand, Bavarian Fruit Bread is basically just glorified mood music. After the quiet album opener of "Drop," the track "Suzanne" shows some promise with a nice little tinkling glockenspiel melody that plays out in the background, but soon afterward the disc slips right back into the drowsy sounds of "Butterfly Mornings."

"On The Low" is a good effort to put a little zip into the album, and it works fairly well with guitars that have the slightest rough edges on them and some nice harmonica, while the addition of some stringed instruments work nicely in "Feeling Of Gaze." "Clear Day" finds Sandoval emoting a bit more than normal, and although the build and eventual musical payout at the end of the track is indeed fairly interesting, it still simply isn't enough to justify the 6 minute running time.

If you're in the mood for some breathy Hope Sandoval vocals and unobtrusive background music, you'll do just fine here. Heck, I know that if I hadn't heard any Mazzy Star before, this release would probably find a nice spot in my collection, but as it stands it's simply more of the same with perhaps a bit better production. Perhaps it's my own fault for expecting anything more out of the release than Hope Sandoval singing and some pleasant instruments, but it's not as if I expected it to rock out. Instead, the release simply plays everyting too safe, and instead of captivating me like it used to, Sandovals voice simply bores me here. Perhaps the problem is that I've simply changed, yet it hasn't.

Rating: 5.25