Lots of things can go wrong on October 31. There was that Halloween that involved getting lost in a thousands-deep parade and fighting through a sea with thirty-ish Heath Ledger Jokers and early-onset Lady Gagas in order to sit on a fence to figure out which guys were costumed police officers, which were actual crowd-control police officers and which could even help. There were those two years when Halloween was bitterly cold one year and 80 degrees the next, meaning that both years people's--OK, my--costumes felt like temperature-calibrated torture devices. And then there were all those Halloweens where we didn't have any good new music to listen to. This year, at least, won't be one of those, between Florence and the Machine's new album and now the more-than-a-decade-awaited reunion of Mazzy Star.
You've got a much higher chance of having heard the group than you think--especially if your hearing had already developed by the '90s, in which case you have heard "Fade Into You through sheer statistics (or maybe "Into Dust" through sheer Gears of War 3 ads). If not, there are (to massively simplify) two general eras: the She Hangs Brightly period of about an album, where the group made the sort of fuzzy guitar pop that everyone's doing now (representative track: "Blue Flower," covered at least twice in the '10s off the top of our heads), then the period afterward with So Tonight That I Might See and Among My Swan, where the guitars receded beneath the surface, the atmosphere grew headier and the music got more quietly gorgeous by the track. (representative tracks: the aforementioned "Fade Into You" and "Into Dust," or "All Your Sisters")
Since then, the group basically disappeared, vocalist Hope Sandoval releasing some even more muted (possibly too muted) material with band The Warm Inventions, and instrumentalist David Roback doing not much more. The decade mark passed; so did the 15-year mark. So while a reunion now is certainly timely--remember how we just mentioned every other indie pop group sounding like She Hangs Brightly when loud and the latter albums when soft?--it wasn't really expected, either. There's not much ado to it--the Halloween release date and two Amazon previews here and here
As for the songs, we've only got Amazon's teensy snippets, but judging by them, "Common Burn" is the prettier and more graceful of the two, flecked with piano and keening guitar, while "Lay Myself Down" moves more quickly, almost sashaying at points. Either would slot nicely on the group's last two albums, which is the highest compliment we could possibly offer. And in case you missed the point in all that backstory--they're absolutely gorgeous and would make fine introductions or re-introductions. Happy early Halloween.