Molly are a duo based in Innsbruck, Austria comprising Lars Andersson on guitars and Phillip Dornauer on drums. But this isn't your standard raucous guitar-drums indie garage duo, Molly are more akin to the sweeping densely populated sounds of Explosions in the Sky or Sigur Rós. Occasionally toning things down a notch to Slowcore territoty. Put it this way, everything is slow and that ain't no bad thing.
Opener "Coming Of Age" is a bold fifteen minutes of epic, cinematic scene setting. Dornauer's drums are super subtle but somehow manage to steal the show (the song, and drum sound in particular has hints of Dark Side of the Moon and Nick Mason's key contributions to it). This is polished stuff but with the heart and soul still intact, a tricky balancing act to pull off. The piano driven mid section is sad, but life affirming and reminded me of those early Electric Soft Parade records, a band who were equally adept at making big, epic sounding music at a fraction of the budget of the bands that influenced them (again, I'm thinking Pink Floyd).
The album's theme's were shaped by the band's local mountainous surroundings, which is understandable if you're lucky enough to live in such an area of stunning natural beauty. And maybe that's why this album sounds like nothing that's coming out of the UK at the moment, where there's a whole lot more to get angry / jaded about. That's not to say that this album is only concerned with joy and beauty, the music is often staunchly downbeat, and the lyrics are no barrel of laughs either: "they come from the inside and deal with topics like growing up, time, decay, sentimentality, transitioning into adult life and everything that comes with it" according to Andersson, so this album probably isn't going to be sound-tracking Planet Earth any time soon.
"Vogelnest" is a serene, floating-above-the-clouds sort of ditty (the birdsong field recordings in the middle only add to the sense of peaceful flight) which showcases the duo's talent for crafting songs which only really contain two instruments, but sound much more fleshed out. Here the opening half is guitar effects, feedback and drums but sounds cavernous, the latter half strips things back a bit with just piano and vocals, to equally devastating effect. Then there's "As Years Go By" which has the sort of timeless sad melody, and eventual release that you might find tucked away on a Radiohead record.
There are moments where the band teeter on the edge of the sterile anthemic territory of Alt-J and the like (which i suppose is a bonus if you like that stuff), but generally speaking, Molly keep it interesting by not throwing the kitchen sink in. There's some restraint here which keeps the music in check and your ears pricked.
This is an ambitious debut which dabbles in light and darkness, mixes glumness and spine-tingling euphoria and by the end of it you'll have completely forgotten that there's just two musicians behind it.