Friday, September 4th, 2009

Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions – Blanchard

No Whitney, No Cry…


Martin Kavka: At times, I’m suspicious of people who wear their traumas on their sleeves. Being able to talk about it is a victory, of course, but they make it seem easier than I believe it actually to be. “Blanchard” strikes me as being more honest. The lyric seems to be directed against an abuser, but there’s no fuck-you resoluteness. Its tone — that of a tarantella, danced by one person, in slow motion in an empty desert — remains tentative and frightened, as if asserting any kind of persona will only lead to more pain.

Anthony Easton: Lonely, and dark, cold chills on a summer evening.

Pete Baran: Someone oil those guitar strings! This song is two parts guitar squeak, one part Hope’s usual dreamy mumbling. It’s the ideal song to fall into a restful slumber to, though it is possible you may have nightmares about a squeaky rodent infestation in your room.

Iain Mew: I guess guitar squeaks can work rather well for your raw outpourings of emotion, adding an extra immediacy. In this, which would othewise be a long, leisurely embrace of a song, they’re a constant irritation that jump out more the harder you try to ignore them.

Martin Skidmore: I suppose they deliberately kept the sound of a guitarist’s fingers scraping the strings, but it sounds glitchy in the otherwise smooth and dreamy sound on offer here. To be honest, I think it is in want of more radical disruption than that.

Michaelangelo Matos: Still fading into you, “you” being the ether.

Anthony Miccio: Surprised to hear this is her first album since 2001 – I assumed her samey, sleepy folk-rock recordings were just coming out under my radar. It’s not like I notice them when they’re on, either.

Peter Parrish: I hadn’t realised how much I’d been missing Mazzy Star. This isn’t quite Mazzy Star, but The Warm Inventions get about two thirds of the way towards making up for the lack of David Roback – all down-tempo echo and delicious, misty twang. Sandoval’s voice though, intentionally languid and as lugubrious as ever, counts for a lot. A whole lot.

Matt Cibula: Just because every indie lady crooner has bitten a ton of her style doesn’t mean she’s not a great stylist. But it also doesn’t give her a free pass for being boring either.

Andrew Casillas: Pleasant enough piece of NPR pop. Slow, but not lethargic. A quiet vocal, but not a whisper. A guitar lick, but no solo. Reverb…OK, a ton of reverb. And lyrics that don’t really go anywhere. Yep, my English professor would have LOVED this.

Doug Robertson: Listening to this is akin to lying in a darkened room, listening to the sound of your own blood pumping through your body. Self indulgent, sure, but an undeniably unnerving experience, if not one you’d wish to repeat too often.

2 Responses to “Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions – Blanchard”

  1. Excellent Kavka blurb here, though I haven’t heard the song yet — it actually reminds me very much of Ashlee Simpson on “Autobiography.” I would replace “trauma” with “disasters,” most but not all of the more mundane variety, each pointing to a bigger unfulfilled need or life disappointment or failing. For Ashlee, expressing ideas and emotion will probably lead to more pain, if not now then eventually” (“Pieces of Me,” “Better Off”). It’s this uncertainty, and the hope that the worst won’t come to pass paired with the underlying feeling that it probably will, that makes me keep returning to it, I think.

    Compare to, say, Marit Larsen, whose lyrics usually betray a pretty deep self-loathing whose relief is almost completely in the accompaniment. She’s laughing in (not off) the trauma, most of them of her own obsession and neuroses, where Ashlee seems to genuinely believe that her music might help her (in most of her situations, the better life is just around the corner somewhere).

  2. Shit, I didn’t notice the guitar squeaks until I read these blurbs and now they’re all I can focus on. Still a pretty song, although so far I think it’s not a patch on anything from the terribly slept-on Bavarian Fruit Bread.