Juana Molina - Son
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Juana Molina

I've always been sort of impartial to Juana Molina. At times she's thrilled me with her mixture of delicate folk and electronics, and during others she's flat-out bored me. I didn't get into her second album Segundo, but found that for the most part, her follow up of Tres Cosas was highly enjoyable. It's hard for me to explain the small differences that make me enjoy one and not the other, and it mainly has to do with how well she combines her sounds and the structure she uses in doing so.

Son is her newest album, and like her first album, it largely leaves me a bit flat. She experiments with her vocal stylings a bit more on the release, and it's definitely the longest effort yet, stretching twelve tracks out to almost an hour in length, but unfortunately it seems content to simply linger on and on in many places. The two song combination of "La Verdad" and "Un Beso Llega" are perfect examples of such. The former loops some minimal acoustic guitar over bird noises, queasy pitch-bend synths, and some minimal programmed beats while Molina sings in her breathy way for almost seven minutes. The latter is largely the same, except she takes some extended excursions into vocal looping and filtering that don't really go much of anywhere.

I'd be lying if I said that I didn't enjoy any of the release, and there are several great songs to be found on the disc. "Micael" builds from vocals and a soft acoustic guitar phrase into a slightly aggressive piece that piles on filtered beats, layers of vocals, warbling bass, and tin can percussion into a three-minute gem of a track. "Malherido" works in almost the opposite way, weaving sparse, spooky guitars and disembodied vocals with subdued bongos for something minimal and haunting. In many other places, though, elements just don't quite sound like they fit together, and despite her pushing slightly forward with her unique sound on this newest release, Son just doesn't engage me as much as I thought it would.

rating: 6.510
Aaron Coleman 2006-06-08 20:22:43