Juana Molina, Wed 21

Andy Battaglia

By Andy Battaglia

on 10.28.13 in Reviews
Exuding a strong sense of place while sounding utterly otherworldly

Born in Argentina and raised in France, Juana Molina sounds, for the most part, like a native of space. She’s effectively a singer-songwriter with a knack for electronics, a common-enough description, but Wed 21, her dense, dizzyingly constructed, immensely appealing new record, exudes a strong sense of place while sounding utterly otherworldly. “Eras” opens suggestively slinky, with leering electric guitar and ominous lumbering bass matched to Molina’s breathy, effortlessly effective voice, at once dramatic and serene. The title track is more purely electronic, with fidgety rhythms that evoke the playful eccentricities of the English experimental rock band Flying Lizards. There is a levity and looseness to the proceedings; in the midst of otherwise simply pleasant proceedings, “Lo Decidi Yo” enlists an electronic gizmo that seems to barely be working and “Sin Guia No” features what sounds like trumpets played by a bunch of bored children. That might seem repellant, but Molina makes such flights of fancy sound beautifully routine. The album — her first in five years — was recorded in Molina’s hometown of Buenos Aires, and features Spanish-language singing, but the best parts are too wonderfully weird to trace to anywhere.