Album Review: Molly Drag – “Thumper”

Posted: by The Editor

As with many of my greatest DIY discoveries, I met Michael Hansford, the mastermind behind Molly Drag, at a basement show in Albany when the group was touring with Philly-based indie rock band, Past Life. I was blown away by the way in which he used his voice to develop a distinctive style that reminds me of artists like Bon Iver and Field Medic. His newest record, Thumper, is a great display of his dynamic writing style with haunting, but inspiring blends of sweeping bridges and soft, vulnerable verses.

Listening to Thumper was quite different from experiencing the band’s live performance. On record the songs are much less layered, and there’s a softer approach to songwriting that can be found in them that way. I particularly loved the way Hansford used voice modulations and harmonies so effectively, and that this style is consistent with Molly Drag’s previous releases, like 2017’s Whatever Reason.

Molly Drag invokes a theatrical and intimate energy with all of their releases, though this can lead to issues in branching out from such a straightforward, niche of “mood music”. However, Thumper expands on that sound and pairs it with a kind of episodic narrative experience that transforms those moments of drowsy ambiance into a vehicle for storytelling. There are frequent, recurring references to the cold, freezing, and snow found in the songs that establish the album’s theme, as well as the various song titles that lend to the cold imagery, like “Warm Song” and “Frostbite”. Thumper is sort of like a musical spirit quest through the Arctic, punctuated by ghostly voices and deeply stirring instrumentals.

Disappointing / Average / Good / Great / Phenomenal

Thumper is out now via Forged Artifacts


Luciano Ferrara // @LucianoRFerrara

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