Both the Spanish- and Anglo-speaking Webs exploded yesterday with two words and a lot of exclamation points: She’s back!!! They’re referring to Juana Molina, the legendary rioplatense singer/songwriter known for her eclectic mix of folk and experimental electronica. After a five-year absence from our ears, she’s back with “Eras,” the first single off her yet-to-be-released album, Wed 21 (out October 28th on Crammed Discs).
“Eras” begins with a pulsing tribal drum underscored by a house beat and a wicked bass line that drags playfully through the song until the fadeout. In typical Molina fashion, the track quickly changes back to her signature guitar riffs and we get to hear her raspy, sweet, lullaby-like voice, singing about waiting, among other themes. The song hypnotizes by way of repetition and syncopated rhythms, but she excels at pulling you out of the trance with sudden time changes, instruments that come as quickly as they go, and tricky silences. It’s one of those songs you can listen to on repeat 10 times and still find sounds and breaks you hadn’t heard or you’d just plain missed.
I’ve always loved Juana Molina for her willingness to experiment with different sounds, moods, and genres, creating complex compositions with different textures. She, like few others, can create a million songs in one. Nonetheless, it’s never too far out of reach for us as listeners. “Eras” is an ingenious intersection between all these genres, the ones she keeps coming back to and the ones she’s just now discovering.