Published Oct 03, 2019On Touchstone's title track, there is a stunning calm in Michael Hansford's receding acoustic guitar strums, while his whispery vocals nudge us along a crooked path of contentment and hopefulness. Hansford's Montreal-based solo project, Molly Drag, captures the lethargic serenity touched on by his past work beautifully throughout the seven-song album.
Touchstone feels like sleepless nights, lonely mornings and the cloud of anxiety that follows us in this never-ending cycle. With an ever-so-slight hesitation in Hansford's drawn-out, hushed voice, there is willingness to open up to a sense of peace and reckoning. The lightly plodding rhythm of "Charlotte" lingers on fragile memories that slowly escape, like wisps of fog through a cracked door that now float around in our head. It's about the reluctance to accept that the past has affected the present, and the perplexing feelings of self-worth.
The gentle, slow-core riff on "Out Like a Light" is dizzying, dream-like and grasps at fleeting images of light, texture and pain. On the final track, "Cherry Red," Hansford pairs weary, reverb-soaked guitar with a playful electronic beat and sections of warped spoken word, spattered with blushes of his own voice.
From start to finish, Touchstone carries an air of wonder dressed in heartache and nostalgic recollection. Since 2014, Molly Drag's consistent output of songs across five albums have been rousing soft pangs of emotion with an incredibly patient approach, and he remains one of Canada's most underrated acts. (Egghunt Records)