Thursday, April 1, 2010

Opal - Early Recordings (1987)

Opal was a short-lived neo-psychedelic pop band associated with the Paisley Underground scene of Los Angeles in the 1980s; most notably for guitar/organist David Roback's involvement (who would later form Mazzy Star with Hope Sandoval). Opal was basically a mish-mash of some other bands in the Paisley scene at the time; Roback would leave his Rain Parade project to work on a one-off collaboration titled Rainy Day with Susanna Hoffs (later of The Bangles) and Kendra Smith (formerly of Dream Syndicate), as well as some other members of notable groups. Feeling the chemistry with Smith's vocals, Roback scrapped Rainy Day after their debut record and started a new project called Clay Allison (eventually settling on the name Opal). Rounding out the band was drummer Keith Mitchell.

Working on a beautiful blend of folk, psychedelia, shoegaze, country and rock; Roback created spare arrangements around Smith's lush and warm vocals- the one thing you notice is all the space on these records.

They only released 2 EPs and one full-length (1987's Happy Nightmare Baby on SST Records) as well as a posthumous compilation called Early Recordings (which gathers those two EPs and some other unreleased gems, released in '89 by Rough Trade). It's basically a sin that Opal's output has been out of print since they broke up, I'm hoping some neo-psychedelic aficionado with some ties to the music industry can get this music its proper due (possibly get it remastered and re-issued) because this music has been enjoying a current resurgence as of late; it'd be nice to see some of the trail-blazing bands get their due.

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