CD Molina & Johnson [Digipak] (CD 6238863),
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Molina & Johnson [Digipak]

  • 1. Twenty Cycles to the Ground
    2. All Falls Together
    3. All Gone, All Gone
    4. Almost Let You In
    5. In the Avalon/Little Killer
    6. Don't Take My Night From Me
    7. Each Star Marks a Day
    8. Lenore's Lullaby
    9. Lily and the Brakerman, The
    10. Now, Divide
    11. What You Reckon, What You Breathe
    12. For as Long as it Will Matter
    13. 34 Blues
    14. Wooden Heart
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 195

  • Credits
    EngineerMatt Pence

    It would be silly to pretend that an album like MOLINA & JOHNSON was created in a vacuum, when the principals -- Jason Molina and Will Johnson -- each have such a rich history behind them. The two singer/songwriters are best known for Magnolia Electric Co. and Centro-Matic, respectively, but it's their other, more explicitly rootsy/acoustic projects, Johnson's indie folk alter ego South San Gabriel and Molina's Songs: Ohia, that are more relevant to the pair's collaborative outing. For the most part, MOLINA & JOHNSON is even more stripped-down than the latter two bands. Things start off at a deceptively brisk clip -- at least brisk for this album -- with "Twenty Cycles to the Ground," the fullest-sounding track here, featuring lambent electric guitar licks, atmospheric organ lines, and an actual drum kit. Neither drums nor anything even approaching midtempo appear again on this album dominated by spare, slow-and-low ballads. That's not a pejorative observation, though -- sparse settings and an unhurried pace are exactly what these tunes require to put their point across. One of the most interesting things about the results of this partnership is the way these two alt-Americana troubadours, who generally seem to have so much in common, start to show their differences when crunched up so close together. Molina, whose voice has suggested Will Oldham with better pitch control ever since his Songs: Ohia days, is very much in the songpoet mode, crafting resonant images with a powerful and precise use of imagery. Johnson, meanwhile, bears a slightly lower, gruffer tone and traffics in a more personal, conceptually evanescent brand of songwriting -- his sound might feel closer to the ground, but he's somehow harder to pin down. Together, usually accompanied by little more than acoustic guitar and piano, they create emotionally rich musical miniatures that only ever take up as much room -- both musically and lyrically -- as they need.

  • Critic Reviews
    Alternative Press (p.95) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Johnson's weathered-leather vocal turns on 'Lenore's Lullaby' and 'Almost Let You In' emerge as the album's highlights."
    Paste (magazine) - "Their styles do fit together well...their voices harmonizing nicely and Molina's haunted aggression adding definition to Johnson's occasionally meandering melodies."
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