Laura Molinelli & Chris Clark, Cinematica | Album Review | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice
Pin It
Favorite

Laura Molinelli & Chris Clark, Cinematica 

Album Review

music-reviews-cinematica.jpg

(Self released, CD, digital download)

Local audiences may be familiar with Laura Molinelli and Chris Clark through their various projects independent of one another. Clark was the front man for the alt-rock band Sliver, while Molinelli has carved out a modest career as a songwriter, with four solo albums under her belt. Cinematica is the husband-and-wife duo’s first collaboration together, a 12-song collection steeped in rock and alt-country and boasting an impressive roster of guest musicians from southern Vermont. Though at times uneven, it’s an intriguing addition to the ever-expanding catalog of Vermont-based Americana.

The album opens on a woozy guitar bend that evokes a skewed, Morricone-by-way-of-Tarantino vision of Western ambience, perhaps filtered through a smudged lens of early R.E.M. Molinelli takes center stage, confidently coaxing a ruddy wail that elicits comparisons to that of Natalie Merchant, especially in her 10,000 Maniacs days. At times, Molinelli has a frustrating habit of letting her intonation slip, to a point beyond stylistic inflection. But when she’s on, which is more often than not, she’s a compelling front woman.

By contrast, Clark sings in a more deliberate, less flashy fashion. On “Blood Red Halo,” a cut that evokes the sound of Athens, Ga., in the 1980s, his reedy delivery recalls Neil Young in sleepier moments, with dusky shades of Bobby Bare Jr. or Son Volt’s Jay Farrar. His and Molinelli’s distinctive tones work well together, and a few of the record’s finest moments are duets.

The pair enlist the help of some talented friends, including John Clark on electric guitar, drummer Dylan Blake and multi-instrumentalist Jim Gilmour, a highly regarded local songwriter who also engineered and co-produced the record. Another talented local couple, Ken Anderson and Rebecca Hall of Hungrytown, turn up on numerous tracks as backing vocalists and, in Anderson’s case, as an instrumentalist. Rounding out the lineup is songwriter Ben Campbell (Saint Albums) on tablas.

The extra help is nice, and in several instances — “Have Time” and “Feed,” in particular — the group fleshes out Molinelli and Clark’s songs with lush vocal harmonies and top-notch arrangements that get the duo’s generally straightforward songwriting. But the spotlight remains focused, as it should be, on Molinelli and Clark. And, save a few fleeting exceptions, they deliver the strong album you’d expect from a pair of seasoned veterans.

Laura Molinelli and Chris Clark release Cinematica with a show at the Jamaica Town Hall this Saturday, June 1. Cinematica is available at cdbaby.com.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

Tags: , ,

Pin It
Favorite

More by Dan Bolles

About The Author

Dan Bolles

Dan Bolles

Bio:
Dan Bolles is Seven Days' assistant arts editor.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Seven Days moderates comments in order to ensure a civil environment. Please treat the comments section as you would a town meeting, dinner party or classroom discussion. In other words, keep commenting classy! Read our guidelines...

Note: Comments are limited to 300 words.

Latest in Album Review

Social Club

Like Seven Days contests and events? Join the club!

See an example of this newsletter...

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative
newsletters:

All content © 2017 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Website powered by Foundation