Tony Molina loves and appreciates a well-crafted song, and he's one of the absolute best in the game at writing them. What he doesn't love so much is being told he's "maturing" as a musical artist. His last solo album had what could be described as a jangly, '60s-ish sound, and some listener reactions threw him off a bit. "I kept hearing: 'Oh, he's maturing, he's getting into other shit, writing more mature stuff,'" he says. "I thought, 'Man, that's kinda lame, no I'm not...' Any time somebody expects something of me, I'm usually gonna do the opposite." Running the other way isn't exactly how his new record came about, but writing and recording In the Fade, Molina's first under his own name in four years, did provide occasion to look back in time through his lengthy musical history while also blazing a new path forward. In early 2020, embarking on recording a new album, he started taking inventory in a way he hadn't really done before, delving deep into his personal archives for songs that might fit alongside the new material he'd been writing and demoing. Many of the ostensibly "mature" musical elements that some listeners have latched on to in his recent work - piano, Mellotron, the occasional English accent - actually date back well over a decade to Ovens, the criminally underrated band with whom Molina wrote and recorded five albums in the early to mid-2000s. In the Fade revisits a few songs from those days. "I had a bunch of old stuff that I had tried recording in the Ovens days [as well as] some songs that only got to the demo stage back then and I kind of forgot about," he says. There were several gems to be found in there, and they helped set him off on the path to making a record that's arguably his best yet. Molina likens In the Fade to a compilation, encompassing every phase of his recording career to date while also fitting together as a tight, endlessly listenable album. "The main thing I was trying to tie everything together with was just really good melodies for the entire record, all the way through," he says. "Every song I wanted to have a really solid hook, because there are different styles." These hooks permeate the record's heavier guitar-pop tunes as well as it's more delicate folk-rock and indie-pop tracks. As he describes it, In the Fade is a very "pop" album. It's a return in part to the Ovens sound, but also features elements of his more recent material and introduces some intriguing new wrinkles.