"With the music, Hope Sandoval's vocals, the album art, and the album cover of "Bavarian Fruit Bread" combined, this has to be my single favorite album. Hope, whether it was when she was with Mazzy Star or went solo with this project, has easily become my favorite vocalist. How could anyone not be drawn to that adorable voice? What's really great about this album is that her vocals become even more of a focal point on "Bavarian Fruit Bread." And what's different about the music here is that rather than the psychedelic bluesy sound of Mazzy Star, there's more of a low-key, folksy approach through the use of acoustic guitar, harmonica, and the glockenspiel. Simple, sparkly, and gorgeous. I wish all music was this good.
I remember hearing "Suzanne" for the first time. I was not yet familiar with Hope, but that song was the beginning to my adoration of dream pop and shoegaze music. What really stood out was the gentle tinkling of the glockenspiel on this track accompanied with Hope and Colm murmuring "Suzanne". There's a certain shimmering, subdued beauty about this entire album that gently pulls you in and keeps you warm and intoxicated with its relaxing and somber nature. It's so easy to just sit back and lose yourself in this kind of music. Of course this isn't the most uplifting or upbeat music I've heard, but there's so much beauty to discover and appreciate in the lethargic dreaminess here.
The only fault I see in this album is the slight mix-up of song titles. I find they're sometimes listed differently, so here's my version: 1. Drop 2. Suzanne 3. Butterfly Mornings 4. On the Low 5. Baby Let Me 6. Feeling of Gaze 7. Charlotte 8. Clear Day 9. Bavarian Fruit Bread (instrumental) 10. Bavarian Fruit Bread 11. Around My Smile 12. Lose Me on the Way
I consider the standout tracks to be "Bavarian Fruit Bread", "Clear Day", "Suzanne", and "Charlotte." All tracks are impressive, though, and it's quite consistent. I can't guarantee you'll love it, but I hope many have been able to enjoy this album as much as I have. Melancholy was never so beautiful before. Whether it makes me want to smile or cry at all its beauty, I just feel pleased to have come across an album created by all very talented musicians."
miaki | Chicago, Illinois USA | 02/14/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
I enjoy this album, the way it's all smoky and dreamy and sensual. If you want to spent a little time floating away, here's a good way to go. To me, it feels like total girl-pouty-attitude, which is kinda satisfying sometimes!"
She sings brightly
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 04/24/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Her wispy, soft vocals were the biggest highlight of Mazzy Star's smoky pop. But now that that much-missed band is gone, Hope Sandoval sets out as a solo artist, in the enchanting "Bavarian Fruit Bread." If you can't have Mazzy Star, then this is a pretty good alternative.
It opens with an acoustic guitar playing a slow melody, mellow and gently. That tune doesn't change much throughout the opening song "Drop," except that Sandoval begins singing in a moody, dreamy manner after a minute. That pretty much sets the tone for the entire album, except for a few songs -- sweet vocals, languid melodies, and a few chimes thrown in.
Most of the songs that follow are much the same -- mellow, gentle, sad acoustic ballads. A few break the mold, with an electric guitar riff in the smoldering "On The Low," and a distant piano solo in "Baby Let Me." And the final song "Lose Me On The Way" is a brilliant slice of experimental pop, slowly sliding from guitar to synth and haunted-house effects, and then back again.
"Bavarian Fruit Bread" is undoubtedly Sandoval's own effort, despite all the inevitable comparisons to her defunct band. It's prettier, less jazzy, more delicate, and simpler. And taken only on its own, it's still a remarkably pretty piece of indie folkpop.
Some of the acoustic guitar playing is somewhat weak, which becomes even clearer when the electric one enters the scene. It's far too simple. So, for that matter, is the songwriting ("Gonna find all your trouble/Gonna send them away/Gonna make you feel happy/Gonna be what you say"), although the songwriting's simplicity is something of a blessing.
However, the piano, eerie fuzzy synth, and slightly scratchy violin are well done, and add some extra dimension to the pretty little songs. Perhaps the only instrumental flaw is that Sandoval and her band never pick up the tempo. Everything is slow and languid. Why not a few midtempo songs?
But whatever the melodies are, they seem to exist to frame Sandoval's lovely voice. She puts it to good use here, singing as if she were half asleep. "The way you drop/Is like a stone/Making out you're flying/But you've just been thrown," she murmurs in the opening song. While these are very simple, they are also beautiful in their lack of pretension.
Stripped-down songs and airy melodies are at the heart of "Bavarian Fruit Bread," the solo debut by Hope Sandoval. Sweet and languid all around."
armenianthunder | los angeles | 09/29/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you're a Mazzy Star fan looking for more "Fade Into You" moments, this is probably going to disappoint you. That said, if you're a fan of the ambient music of artists like--to use some examples--Brian Eno and The Album Leaf, you're likely going to enjoy this narcotic, drowsy masterpiece. On first listen, this is not all that far removed from Mazzy Star's autumnal drone-pop. But instead of the simple, fuzzy, VU-style electric guitar-and-drum backing that Mazzy relied on, songs like "Butterfly Mornings" hover in your consciousness, on Sandoval's husky, sensual voice and whispery filigrees of acoustic guitars, dreamy bells, and a whole lot of empty space. "Drop" and "Suzanne" are heroin-sleepy takes on the classic Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood sound. However, the hypnotic, dubby "On The Low" is the highlight, sounding the most like Mazzy Star, but expanding on their established sound in an exciting way. An absolutely classic late-night headphone record, this is an entrancing listening experience, though I will admit that it's hard to stay awake for the later tracks."