Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions
"Through The Devil Softly"

(Nettwerk Records 2009)Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions - Through The Devil Softly

The perfect setting to listen to Hope Sandoval And The Warm Inventions' "Through The Devil Softly" is with the lights turned way down, or completely off, maybe light a couple of candles and let their flames dance upon the walls to the music. Or perhaps, if candles aren't your thing, on an overcast, rainy day with the pattering of raindrops on the windows. There aren't any puzzling metaphors here; Sandoval's album is darkly seductive as the layered melodies suck you in.

It wouldn't be amiss to portray Sandoval's "Through The Devil Softly" as the female version of Mark Lanegan's solo work. Each singer-songwriter is dark, mysterious, introverted and positively fascinating. Take, for example, the wispy, haunting opening track, "Blanchard," which opens itself to reveal an unshakable dreaminess, while "Satellite," with its subtle instrumental squeaks and Sandoval's cooing singing, sounds like it was recorded decades ago and has been stowed away ever since in someone's attic, collecting dust. Elsewhere "Trouble" sounds just as its title promises: slick, sexy, sinister and mysterious. "Fall Aside" sounds minimal but the occasional thump of drums and a light, clicking melody show it's anything but.

Sandoval, with help from My Bloody Valentine's Colm Ó Cíosóig, makes "Through The Devil Softly" an album with a sly draw and, without realizing it, one that you'll find yourself playing over and over. What it also has is a timeless sound that transports you throughout the past without ever finding yourself stuck somewhere you'd rather not be. Indeed, Hope Sandoval And The Warm Inventions will leave you wanting more of the carefully layered, swirling melodies and the quietly commanding vocals on "Through The Devil Softly."

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