Song of the Day (Shocktober): Mazzy Star “Ghost Highway”

Mazzy Star

Song of the Day (Shocktober): Mazzy Star “Ghost Highway”

a uniquely languid take on psychedelia

California-based indie duo Mazzy Star are guitarist David Roback and vocalist Hope Sandoval. The band debuted at the dawn of the 90s with a uniquely languid take on psychedelia, inspired in equal measure by Velvet Underground feedback-drenched drone and the gentler melodic strains of folk-rock. In earlier bands The Rain Parade and Opal, Roback was an important member of the paisley underground, a Los Angeles collective of bands that infused 60s psychedelia with post-punk energy. Other bands affiliated with the collective included The Three O’Clock, The Bangles, The Dream Syndicate, Thin White Rope, Green on Red, and The Pandoras.

Following the 1987 dissolution of Opal, Roback linked up with vocalist Hope Sandoval, who delivered her seductive melodies with a laconic country-blues twang. The duo is assisted by Opal’s former drummer, Keith Mitchell, on the 1990 debut album, She Hangs Brightly. The album is largely a cooly enveloping, laidback affair, best-known for lovelorn tales over third-album-Velvets strum. But buried in the second side is “Ghost Highway,” an album cut that turns up the haunted heat with a tastefully fuzztoned garage rock guitar riff while Sandoval spookily croons from deep inside a vast echo chamber. With rumbling tom-toms and church organ strains, the sound conjures up images of speeding down an endless and ominous road where the car’s headlights barely penetrate the inky blackness ahead.

You’re a ghost on the highway,
And I’ll love you forever
Ghost on the highway
And I’ll love you forever
Forever and ever
And ever and ever
Your eyes are an island
And I’ll own them forever
Your eyes are an island
And I’ll love them forever
Forever and ever
And ever and ever
You’re a ghost on the highway
And I’ll love you forever
Ghost on the highway
And I’ll love you forever
Forever and ever
And ever and ever

 
Mazzy Star