Molina & Johnson
"Molina & Johnson"

(Secretly Canadian 2009)Molina & Johnson - Molina & Johnson

After a show in Austin, Texas, Jason Molina is approached by fellow singer-songwriter Will Johnson to discuss hats and pumpkins. Jason has just finished up a set with his band Magnolia Electric Co. and apparently the two topics are of dire importance. Eventually they get down to business and discuss a possible collaboration in the near future. Five months later the two travel to Texas' Echolab Studios with equipment, beer, and BB guns in hand, all the necessary ingredients for a down-home cooked alt-country folk album like these two have been churning out for over a decade. After just ten days the duo releases "Molina and Johnson."

Ironically that is exactly how long it takes to listen to the album once through, or so it seems. Sleepily strummed guitars and gentle brushes of percussion sway this album back and forth until it dozes off. Simply put, the album is missing something. As if they are performing under a few dim lights to an audience of one or two people, (neither of whom is listening) Molina and Johnson appear indifferent. Perhaps they made this album for themselves and don't give a hoot about the crowd, or lack thereof.

To be fair there is a good deal of passion and despair in Johnson's vocals on tracks like "In the Avalon/the Killer," even if the music itself is calm and collected. "All Gone, All Gone," a haunting, psychedelic jangle straight out of the southern swamplands, showcases a more bluesy direction the two could and should have taken.

Sadly there are not enough memorable moments to save this forgettable, forty seven minute album of background music and in the future the two should stick to discussing hats and pumpkins.


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