Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions: Through the Devil Softly (Nettwerk)

It's been eight long years since Sandoval's first solo album, Bavarian Fruit Bread. So fans of the former Mazzy Star vocalist, she of the warm, quiet voice that brings to mind heavy-lidded whispers in the deep of night, likely will rejoice to learn she has a new disc out, and that it is perhaps a more beautiful psychedelic dream-pop experience than her first record.

Sandoval hasn't been idle, performing with the likes of the Jesus & Mary Chain, Air, Death in Vegas, The Chemical Brothers, Massive Attack and Bert Jansch. But it's nice to have her back on the record shelves under her own name. Again she's paired with collaborator Colm Ó Cíosóig (of My Bloody Valentine fame). Irish band Dirt Blue Gene acts as the backing group on most of these cuts (as well as the current tour).

Sandoval's songs are deceptively simple. On first listen, it seems almost as if they're not entirely there, floating at the periphery of your attention, like a barely remembered dream. If you let them wiggle their way into your consciousness, however, they'll take up residence there.

The gently spiraling guitar of leadoff single "Blanchard" is pure heaven, while vibes, chimes and slouching bass make "For the Rest of Your Life" deliciously hypnotic. "Fall Aside" has a dark baroque feel, with banjo and maybe a dulcimer sounding spooky and comforting at the same time. The slow swing of the blues-based "Trouble," with guitar drenched in reverb and girl group melodies, comes on like a feverish 1950s David Lynchian drama. This is an album to treasure.

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