Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Tony Molina, Kill the Lights, 2018

Album Review

By Henry Lipput

Tony Molina's outstanding new album Kill The Lights has ten songs that clock in at no longer than two-and-a-half minutes each, and the whole album has a less than fifteen-minute running time. His previous release, 2016's Confront The Truth EP had songs that were even shorter. But don't let the length of Kill The Lights put you off. It's chock full of musical gems that will more than satisfy a power pop lover's minimum daily requirements.

Although I have nothing to back up my impression that Kill The Lights is a breakup album, because Molina wears his influences -- and his heart -- on his sleeve, I can't help comparing the lyrics in many of these songs to other fairly recent lost-love albums like Beck's Sea Change and Duncan Sheik's Phantom Moon

"How can I ever let you know / It seems that there's no place for us to go," Molina sings on the opening track "Nothing I Can Say." With its gorgeous Rickenbacker jangles -- one of many great guitar sounds on the album -- and warm harmonies, it's like a classic early Byrds single. 

"Now That She's Gone," with the lyric "And I wonder if she'll ever come back home," has a tune that recalls John Lennon's "Oh My Love" as written and performed by Elliott Smith. "Before You Go" also brings to mind the beautiful acoustic songs in Smith's catalog. 

The lovely, heartbroken "When She Leaves" is an acoustic gem. "When she leaves me / Where am I to go? / If it's over / I'm old enough to know / I know I always let her down / But I can't live without her now." 

With "Jasper's Theme," we're in prime Teenage Fanclub territory with Norman Blake at the helm and signs of a tentative new love: "But when I see her now / She's the only joy my life will allow." 

If "Nothing I Can Say" could be from the Roger McGuinn songbook, "Give He Take You" is Byrds-era Gene Clark and contains more new love hints in this melancholy but hopeful lyric: "I do not know if I should see her / 'Cause I've been here for some time / She's always on my mind" and "She's the only love I've found."

Kill The Lights is out now on Slumberland Records.

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