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Molasses – Trouble at Jinx Hotel

In the tradition of slow, dark, and wonderfully melodious music, Molasses has crafted an album that fits their name only too perfectly. On their fourth release, Trouble at Jinx Hotel, (on alien8 recordings;, this Montréal ensemble creates a sonically enchanting masterpiece full of whispery vocals and steel harmonies that drip with images of sipping whiskey and saying prayers.

The group’s singer/songwriter guru, Scott Chernoff, leads the sound with poetic swirlings and elements of folk, old Americana, and a confessional beauty kindred to the likes of Sam Beam, Elliot Smith, Leonard Cohen, and Tom Waits. The group includes members of the Shalabi Effect, Godspeed You Black Emperor!, set fire to flames, as well as several other bands.

Track 1, “Siren Song,” begins with the haunting and heartrending sound of an Iraqi air-raid siren, which howls like wild animals closing in on your campfire and continues on sublimely like the Hamburglar with a Bic Mac in his filthy, gloved hands. Or maybe more like an old sea vessel on a dark ocean. I think that’s definitely what I meant. Tracks like “Saint Christopher’s Blues,” are breathy and sultry, with tremolo that weaves and wobbles to create a dark velvet tapestry of sound. It makes me want to turn off the lights, light a candle, and contemplate my own heartbeat. “Sign of Judgement,” a rendition of the 1930s Kid Prince Mooregospel, is the sound of the deep south with sharp, dark guitar plucks and steel harmonies in the backdrop, like metallic ghosts whisking through old wooden hallways.

Choral layers, eerie lullabies, ferocious blues, vocal harmonies, train tracks and echoes, deserts and betrayal, spooky interludes, and harmonious dissonance. It’s all in this ten track, thirteen-title composition that maintains a beautiful darkness throughout its entirety. If you love, or even like 16 Horsepower, please listen to this album as soon as humanly possible.


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