Magnolia Electric Co. - Josephine
- Artist: Magnolia Electric Co.
- Album: Josephine
- Label: Secretly Canadian
- Year of Release: 2009
- ME Rating:
- Reviewed by: toddlevinsonfrank on 2009-09-08
On the new Magnolia Electric Co. album Josephine, a solid and satisfying 14-song set, Jason Molina does what he does best. He writes songs about stuff that's usually hard to see: ghosts, secrets, heartbreak, loneliness, regret, hope, horizons, faraway forever eyes, being halfway between the moon and ending it all, a love letter from the ace of spades, and when the fire meets the flame.
But also things that are usually easier to see, but in various degrees, like the moon and the road.
Josephine, while still rooted in a basic blend of folk and bluesy rock, has an almost gospel feel. The first two songs are even titled "O! Grace," and "The Rock of Ages." But make no mistake; there are no clapping church choirs or religious romps here. This sounds about what you would expect a Magnolia Electric Co. album to sound like, and it's a fine one.
The mellower songs aren't slow or boring; they're deliberate, meditative, and haunting. Nothing rocks really hard here, but a few songs bring the power of his full-band sound as heard on such previous records as the Nashville Moon disc from the Sojourner box and the Magnolia Electric Co. album which became the bands' namesake when it changed over from it's previous incarnation as Songs: Ohia.
Once again, the presentation manages to be both pristine and ragged, not an easy feat. From the crystal-clear opening piano to the tasty organ in "Little Sad Eyes," and every sound of frets squeaking in between, Molina's imperfect but always purposeful voice brings each ghost to life and provides company to every loneliness.
There's a spot in the middle of the album when "Hope Dies Last" ends and a loud guitar chord crashes in tremolo glory, giving way to "The Handing Down," perhaps the perfect representative of "what Magnolia Electric Co. sounds like," if that could be pinned down. That moment, like many of the heartbreaks and horizons he sings about, isn't easily seen but won't soon be forgotten.
User Reviews and CommentsLog In or Register to Rate Albums
Tell us why this album is great or sucks ass, or correct the reviewer. If you write enough quality reviews you may find yourself on the editorial staff.
Reviews have to be over 100 words, shorter ones are classed as comments.