2010-01-27On their self-titled and alt country debut, Molina and Johnson share their combined talents on fourteen soothing and often sad songs. Known for his work with Magnolia Electric Co., Jason Molina's baleful cry is found in varying ways here. One of the best is the haunting "32 Blues" wherein Molina cries about the vast unknown of the after world. Will Johnson, of Centro-matic and South San Gabriel fame is a nice contrast to Molina with his husky growl. While surfacing throughout, perhaps the song the best exemplifies Johnson's talents is the one that he shares with the Texan songstress Sarah Jaffe - "All Gone, All Gone." In the background on this one is an instrument known by some as the crying saw. In this case, it produces a haunting and chilling effect. Another song worthy of some attention is the opener, "Twenty Cycles to the Ground." Here, both Molina and Johnson share the vocals on the laid back and organ accompanied song. Minimalism is again in full-force but it shines brightly on "Almost Let You In." Here, Molina and Johnson combine the best of their vocal talents and add it to their knack for songwriting to create a track that deserves its just due. On the whole, there are certainly no toe-tappers here. The fact is, these are two markedly talented but mournful men that have chosen to create a bare sound that's often a little too dark and depressing. While the sound and the mood do grow on you, it's probably not enough for most to give it their time. ~Reviewed by Jeff Bouma
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