Published Oct 26, 2016On his 2013 solo debut Dissed and Dismissed, San Mateo County, California hardcore vet Tony Molina stunned the world with his masterful ear for riffs, melody and concision, condensing the best parts of late '80s Dinosaur Jr. and Weezer's Blue Album into 12 songs that ran just under 12 minutes, total. He used only the crucial elements: a bridge and a chorus here; a chorus and a ripping solo there. The longest track clocked in at just a minute-and-a-half.
The format is the same on followup Confront the Truth — eight songs, 12 minutes, all of which fit on a single seven-inch — but the style is different. In place of Dissed's thick, fuzzy distortion and indie-rock signifiers are the gently plucked acoustics of "Lisa's Song" and the relatively epic (two-and-a-half-minutes!) ballad "No One Told He." As on Dissed, Molina's knack for melody is frighteningly superb here, evoking the Beatles not just in the songwriting but the instrumentals: "I Don't Want to Know" and "Hung Up on the Dream" are cynical but stunning updates on "Strawberry Fields Forever," mellotron included, while "See Me Fall" recalls the straightforward beauty of McCartney's "Yesterday."
It's all nicely done, even if — maybe because so many artists have already followed in the Fab Four's footsteps — there's a pervasive sense on Confront the Truth that you've heard it before. Molina was thus wise to sign off with "Banshee," the closest he gets to his old, riffy self here, and a stark reminder that he's got the talent to do basically anything he sets his mind to. (Slumberland)