Juana Molina


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America doesn't have a lock on all the off-kilter singer/songwriters. Take a listen to the very individual Argentine Juana Molina. On her second album, she explores electronic and acoustic textures, treading through them like rooms in an empty house while inspecting details and corners. She's equally comfortable with detuned synths (as on "Medlong") or acoustic guitar ("El Zorzal"), but whatever she uses, her music keeps taking the path less traveled. Her unusual, minimal touches transport lovely melodies into different dimensions. Molina is like a Latin Lisa Germano: both make small, intimate albums and think outside the box. But originality should be treasured, especially when it's wrapped in glistening little melodies. Molina can have an almost childlike simplicity at times in the way her voice glides between the blips and bloops, although her sensuality comes to the surface in other moments. She utilizes minimal arrangements and the production might sound more like work from home than the big recording studio, but this naïveté suits the songs. There's an irresistible charm about both this disc and Molina's approach. Even if you don't speak Spanish, you'll still be smiling.

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