Luna Kafé e-zine  Luna Kafé record review
coverpic flag US - Indiana - Full Moon 158 - 08/06/09

Magnolia Electric Co.
Secretly Canadian

Singer/songwriter Jason Molina (& co.) is highly productive. Over the years he's put out a load of records (13 regular albums since 1996, plus a lot of tour-only albums, EPs, etc.), either under the moniker Songs: Ohia, solo as Jason Molina, or with his Magnolia Electric Co. All the time playing inside the conglomerate of indie rock, lo-fi, folk or alt-country. Well, maybe a blend you could call 'cabin-country'. This is music both introvert and extrovert at the same time.

Josephine was recorded by Steve Albini at his Electrical Audio Studios, Chicago. The album came as a tribute to the late Magnolia El. Co. (and Rogue Wave) bassist Evan Farrell (who died in a fire in late 2007). The sound is quite Albini-esque, even though it's far, far from the roughness and attitude of most bands he works with. Opener "O! Grace" is quite a laidback, folk-country song. Some songs, or parts, make me think of Richard Hawley, others of Van Morrison. Or, maybe a blend of the two gentlemen. Magnolia El. Co. also sound like a more country-heavy band than Okkervil River. Maybe too heavy on the country for my taste. I'm not that moved or blown away. Okay, there are some good songs, but I'm just not attracted enough by the drama of the vocals of Molina and of his songs. That said, Josephine is strong, solid and tender - it just doesn't grab me.

Maybe I should try this album again when the autumn comes, and the sun crawls away.

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