Tony Molina: Kill the Lights (Slumberland) - review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Wednesday, July 8th, 2020  

Tony Molina

Kill the Lights


Aug 01, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

After listening to a Tony Molina song, it might take you by surprise that Molina, a West Bay native, has honed his craft within a hardcore milieu, playing alongside local acts such as Dystrophy, Ovens, and Caged Animal, to name a few. Instead, it sounds as if Molina was raised on a rigorous diet of Big Star and George Harrison tapes, in a world where hardcore was only an urban legend. But perhaps Molina's hardcore tenure helped him mature into the power-pop troubadour he has become—both genres equally visceral and tempestuous as the other, primal in ways that complement one another, both thematically love sick or frustrated.

In Kill the Lights' case, though—Molina's latest collection of songs—it tends to lean towards the love sick side of the spectrum, as seen on the opener "Nothing I Can Say," a woozy ballad of emotional pliancy. Molina's immediacy proves his ability of perfecting transient songwriting. Every song on Kill the Lights runs under two minutes, with the exception of "Jasper's Theme" and "Inside Your Mind/Losin' Touch," yet Molina's able to embody every '70s classic rock trope imaginable in a pristine, singer/songwriter fashion. This all happens in less than 15 minutes.

Kill the Lights revels in simplicities—every melody is neatly shaped, each song never overstaying its welcome. Due to its brevity, Kill the Lights is one of the most effective power-pop statements in memory both distant and recent. Molina's efficiency as a composer is in no way a flaw, but instead one of his greatest strengths. Molina is aware that sometimes the most powerful statements are the short and concise ones, and his ability to do so is crystal clear throughout Kill the Lights.

On "Wrong Town," Molina affirms the notion of impact within a minute-long crooner—it's just Molina fingerpicking, as an organ slowly carries his whispers away in the remaining seconds. These are moments meant to be repeated, much like "When She Leaves," Molina's peak Alex Chilton moment. But, it's not exactly the nostalgic value that carries Molina's voice throughout Kill the Lights. He is no way an impostor, but instead an innovator for a long forgotten genre, and Molina has the chops to prove it. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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