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Tony Molina | Kill the Lights

The power-popster continues to do more with less — but ups the musical and emotional antes ever so slightly.

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It’s said brevity is the soul of wit. Turns out it goes pretty well with indie-pop too. Especially when Tony Molina is at the controls. Like Guided by VoicesRobert Pollard, the Bay Area power-pop singer-guitarist (and sometime hardcore punk) has a knack for writing elegantly compact songlets that somehow sound fully formed even though they breeze by in less time than it takes most bands to tune up. Unlike Uncle Bob, however, Molina favours revealing emotional sincerity and impressive technical proficiency over beer-fuelled beat poetry and basement-band improv. On his latest release Kill the Lights, Molina continues to do more with less — but he also ups the musical and emotional antes ever so slightly. This 10-tracker is his longest release to date, clocking in at a whopping 14 minutes and change. It also features some of his strongest work, expertly mining a nostalgic vein of ’60s and ’70s jangle-pop and folk-rock complete with 12-string arpeggios, melancholy vocals, dusty harmonies and an overall hazy vibe. Make no mistake: Molina is in no danger of penning a double-disc concept album anytime soon. But with the fat-free beauty and quiet intensity of Kill the Lights, he’s slowly but surely moving towards a bigger, bolder and brighter future. Brevity be damned.