Album Review: Jason Molina – Eight Gates (2020, Secretly Canadian)

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“The perfect take is just as long as the person singing is still alive. That’s really it.”

Those words, spoken by Jason Molina at the beginning of “She Says” were certainly meant to be a joke aimed at those with perfectionist tendencies, but they take on another, darker meaning when you remember that the person speaking them (and singing these songs) has not been alive for several years now.

Eight Gates is the last collection of solo studio recordings Jason Molina made before his tragic death in 2013 and while the above quote might suggest that this album is simply a collection of unfinished sketches, the reality is that they’re much more than just that. While the arrangements on many of the tracks are relatively sparse and straightforward, with most of them coming in under the three minute mark, there’s still a fair bit to unpack behind the seeming simplicity.

Though brief, the songs unfold at a languid pace and draw the listener in with evocative lyrics such as “I feel the dread as you re-read my palms” and “Whose wilderness has my heartbreak wandered through?” And at the centre of it all is Molina’s beautiful, haunting voice.

Jason Molina may have left us too soon, but his music lives on, and with Eight Gates, we thankfully have nine more of his songs to appreciate.

Eight Gates is out on August 7 via Secretly Canadian.


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Posted on by Paul in Albums

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