Artist: Juana Molina
Album: Un Dia
Rating: B-

When listening to Juana Molina the comparisons are all too evident. Names like Bjork and Joanna Newsom spring to mind as obvious influences. Her music, multi-layered, multi-instrumental, lavish, and at the same time stripped down is just in that niche between world music and pop.

Un Dia is Molina’s fifth album. Regarded by critics as her more commercial album, it still drifts in esoteric waters. Relaxed, mellow guitars are woven into the sumptuous layers of Molina’s sleepy, delicate voice.

The titular track combines the sharpness of her voice, as well as hushed hums and throat sounds, which are echoed throughout Un Dia.

Molina’s album, although incredibly well made, suffers the same fate of many of her contemporaries in the sense that she performs dinner party music.

It’s interesting enough to be a conversation piece, but inoffensive enough not to be a distraction. A track like ‘Lo Dejamos’ sounds sweet and delicate enough, but it is ultimately unremarkable.

The album’s intricacies however give grandeur to this soft and subtle affair. The melody drips like honey and the handclaps, coos and sighs provide a lavish gloss to the modest plucks of the string instruments.

The precise attention to detail of the album gives hope that a live performance of Un Dia may be rougher experience and a livelier one too than the experience of the album.

Un Dia is certainly luxuriant, but suffers a polyphonic curse. Melodies and rhythms collide and sadly blend, becoming repetitive and indistinguishable.

In a Nutshell: Melodic and delicious but it’s all been done before – and been done better.

Seán McGovern