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Molly Maher

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Review by Gary Hill

This is a hard set to pin down. There is a lot of Americana here, but it also works toward dreamy territory, psychedelia and more. While that makes it perhaps better to enjoy song by song for some people, if your musical tastes are wide enough, there is a sense of continuity and flow to be gained from the album experience. This is definitely not something to judge by just one or two songs, though. It's a rich release with a lot of intriguing music within its duration.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 4. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
Jango
The album opens with an instrumental. The cool Americana sound on this is so classy. The percussive bit takes away from it just a little early. I think that's because it's so busy and the rest of the arrangement is subtler. As the music grows into that percussion it works better. This is a classy slab of retro tinged music. I dig the guitar sound and the organ in particular.
Run Run Run
This number has more of a country meets folk rock vibe to it. It's accessible, and cool. It's perhaps not as dramatic as the opener was. That said, it still has plenty of charms built into it.
Pale Face River
A bit mellower, this has more of that folk edge, and a bit less rock. It's still classy Americana, but I don't think it's as effective as the last couple tunes were.
Open Road
Now, this is a huge change. It's built around some killer, jazzy rocking sounds. There are some lead vocals, but they are almost more in the chorus. There are male vocals and others also dancing around in the arrangement. There are hints of things like The Doors on this number. This is classy stuff and a highlight of the set.
StormCloud

Another standout tune, there is a bit more of that Doors edge to this piece. The vocals are rather soulful and bluesy. Yes, there is a country edge to them, but it really comes across as more blues than country. The number has a lot of trippy, psychedelic class built into it. There are so many cool moments as this works through a number of shifts. The moods are just so potent.

Bird Song (I’ll Follow You)
The country is back in full control here. This is a mellower, acoustic based number that leans toward the folk end of the thing. It's a nice change, and a pretty and effective song. There is a little jazzy break with some vocals in Spanish. There is also a coda that has both Spanish and English vocals in a more stripped back arrangement.
Go Slow
As this opens it reminds me quite a bit of Santana's more recent music. There is a real Latin vibe and groove to this thing. It shares a concept with "Open Road" in that the vocals are understated and rather back in the mix, and not all that prevalent. In fact, this is much more of an instrumental than that one was, with the vocals essentially incidental accompaniment. This is quite a cool groove, and a nice change of pace.
Someday Somebody
Americana is in the driver's seat here. This is a killer slab of retro tinged rocking sound. I love the beefy retro texture of the guitar soloing.
On the 18
The vocals on this cut are more of the incidental variety. They are of the male variety. The music is classy and vaguely psychedelic with some decidedly dreamy textures. There are definitely more of those ties to music like that of the Doors here.
Find the Shepard

This has a dark, dreamy quality to it. It makes me think of things like Mazzy Star a bit. It has some great vocal melodies. It's actually one of my favorites here. The closing bit is very much a space rock kind of thing, albeit of the mellower variety.

 

 
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