Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Afraid To Go Outside: A Brief Review Of The New Tony Molina Album On Slumberland Records

Tony Molina has a knack for finding the perfect hook and highlighting it as succinctly as possible. Having gone in the direction of chamber pop, every offering from the West Bay artist is something worth cherishing. Kill The Lights, out on Friday via Slumberland Records, is yet another in a string of richly-rewarding releases, and one that provides more musical invention than albums twice its length.

From the buoyant "Jasper's Theme", with its echoes of "Mellow Doubt"-era Teenage Fanclub, and on to the Brian Wilson-recalling "Afraid To Go Outside", there's a real sense of cultivated perfection percolating in these grooves. With each cut here, it's apparent that Molina has spent a lot of time refining his pop attack, and refining it so sharply that a brief number like "Nothing I Can Say" chimes like an early track from The Posies or Velvet Crush, even as the sharply observant "Wrong Town" eases into the kind of quiet power-pop that one found in the Chris Bell solo stuff.

Admittedly concise, Kill The Lights nonetheless contains so much goodness that it seems churlish to wish that the songs were twice as long. Tony Molina, much like Robert Pollard before him, zeroes in on the chord change or riff that says everything to a listener. Molina does this sort of thing better than almost anyone has since those guys in Cardinal way back when, and here's hoping that he keeps cranking out records like this one.

Out on Friday from Slumberland Records, Kill The Lights is this week's best new release.

[Photo: Uncredited promotional image]