In general, I try not to let aesthetics and perception get in my way of judgment of music. But I mean, come on, this is Hope Sandoval. For anyone unaware, Sandoval is the lead of that annoying outfit you keep hearing compared with Beach House, Mazzy Star (really I think Beach House is more like The Mamas and the Papas), harbinger of the time-stopping ‘90s radio single “Fade into You” which was ARGUABLY written about The Jesus and Mary Chain’s Jim Reid. Technically she doesn’t have any solo albums, but these Warm Inventions albums have been issuing with modest regularity, about every time the human body renews all its skin cells (seven year increments, in fact). So yes, that does make her the seven-year bit**, in a sense.
Well, she’s anything but bit**y on Until the Hunter opener “Into the Trees” (which interestingly like My Morning Jacket’s “Into the Woods” features copious opaque, slow, herky-jerky synth which provides the majority of the sound) — she keeps repeating “I miss you / I miss you”. And see this is where my issue comes — I guess we’re all more vulnerable than I’d thought, because Hope Sandoval isn’t exactly what you’d call hard to look at (maybe that’s why she’s compared to Beach House so frequently).
“Into the Trees” is a successful nine-minute opener which feels like about six if a bit Pink Floyd-mocking, so it’s very disappointing when “The Peasant” comes in, dumb pop chord progression and cliched slide guitar and all, like something straight out of the So Tonight That I Might See playbook. With this girl being so successful and the center of attention, I can’t help but wonder why she’d still be so FEEBLE — desirous of others and consistently rudimentarily quiet and demure. “Let Me Get There” with Kurt Vile comes in again nice and stately — no swung eighth notes, no notable element of blues whatsoever — somewhat pointlessly and monotonously approximating Neil Young & Crazy Horse, era Psychedelic Pill. The chorus goes “It’s all in the groove”, which I suppose is cute enough, though not exactly cataclysmic, from a cultural standpoint. This isn’t even viable record store music — think that new cafe that just opened where all the hot girls hang out at. Also Kurt Vile’s line “That’s the way we’ll keep it in the house” line is most unfortunate, but then that’s about what we’ve come to expect from him at this point. Luckily, he goes this whole song without using the word “pimp.”