‘Josephine’ just average

By Gus Bode

Magnolia Electric Co.


Release Date: 7/21


Record Label: Secretly Canadian

Rating: C+

Jason Molina, the brains behind Magnolia Electric Co. just keeps doing what he does best.

Putting out consistent, heartbreaking alt-country.

There is hesitation in throwing the alt-country tag on Molina’s work because it is more entrenched in Neil Young territory than say, an Uncle Tupelo sound.

Just like Mr. Young, Molina has a distinct voice that breaks and creaks with his productions, enhancing the gloom of the records.

There is no barnstorming, southern rock jams here. Most of the tracks are somber, depressive ballads revolving around a classic rock set-up plus some lapsteel guitars as well.


The record could have done with some trimming as its 14 tracks enter yawn-inducing territory during the middle portion. Molina undoubtedly has serious songwriting chops, but 10 tracks would have showcased those skills much better.

This is Magnolia’s first proper release in three years. In that time Molina has said he has written six records worth of material.

Perhaps when he gets around to putting that material out, a more selective hand will be utilized in track decision.

For the few beefs that arise out of Magnolia’s newest there is still some great tunes here.

Album opener, ‘O! Grace’ begins with a Bruce Hornsby-esque chord progression as the song transcends into more standard country fare. Molina is joined on the chorus by a number of voices with a saxophone breakdown popping up about two minutes in.

‘Josephine’ is a haunting and downtrodden piece of work. Although getting through the whole thing in one listen may prove daunting, Molina is still one of the best in the ‘aping Neil Young ballads’ game.

Luke McCormick can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 275