If you’re looking for sizzling summer blues with a touch of Americana and rock n’ roll harmonies, Molly Hanmer and the Midnight Tokers have you covered in their single “Fool’s Run,” the first from their highly anticipated album Stuck in a Daydream. The Los Angeles based indie band have already captured the hearts of critics with their stunningly organic approach to making richly textured melodies, and now they’ve set their sights on international chart domination and produced a single that is more than capable of generating a segue. I’ve always said that first impressions are everything, and even though I had never listened to Molly Hanmer or her Midnight Tokers prior to “Fool’s Run,” you can bet that I’ll be listening to everything they release in the future.
2018 has been a pretty unconventional year for pop music. We’ve seen a major spike in surrealism’s influence over pop, rock and hip-hop, and we’ve seen a steady migration of country fans over to the folkie/Americana scene at a pace that is starting to make Nashville really worried. Molly Hanmer and the Midnight Tokers are a part of a pretty recent trend within indie rock that fuses the ethics of punk rock and DIY with the sonic experimentalism of psychedelia and the stripped down song structures of folk and traditional blues. “Fool’s Run” is one of the more exciting songs I’ve heard out of what many of my contemporaries are calling the neo-Americana movement, and I could actually see Molly Hanmer being a good ambassador of its style.
Stringing together poignant lyrics with an elegantly restrained vocal from Hanmer, “Fool’s Run” does one thing better than any other song I’ve reviewed this year; it doesn’t try to be something it’s not. There isn’t any ridiculous added vibrato or manipulated walls of sound to prop up the song more than its actual chords do. There’s an earnest quality to its arrangement, almost as if to suggest that we’re listening to a backyard jam somewhere rather than to a studio album, and rather than coming off as amateurish, we feel like we’re being treated to an intimate performance where there’s nothing between us and the band themselves. It’s a transcendent, refreshing listening experience in contrast to anything that their closest competitors have come up with lately.
There’s still plenty of room for this band to grow into their sound a little more and define their identity a little more clearly, but judging from the tenacity and self-control that Moller Hanmer and the Midnight Tokers demonstrate in “Fool’s Run,” I think that it’s safe for us to assume that this is just the beginning of what is certain to be a very successful, accomplished career. At this stage of the game virtually anything is possible for them, and the fact that they’re already cutting tracks that are as vividly stylized and attractively produced as this one speaks volumes about where they stand to go over the course of the next five or ten years. I’ll be keeping an eye on them, and I’m positive that I won’t be the only one.
“Watch the Video for Fool’s Run” https://www.youtube.com/
Photo credit: Dave Clancy.