Review of Magnolia Electric Co. album Josephine released through Secretly Canadian. Magnolia Electric Co's Jason Molina is a singer-songwriter's songwriter. So far, he has released an album or EP every year since 1996. His soundscapes, which are often bleak, are tempered here and the album took a side-step when bass player Evan Farrell died in 2007. Legendary producer Steve Albini is on the deck, giving the music room to breathe. Unlike Molina's previous releases, the melancholy in a flavour in the mix and not just the taste. Austerity, though, is still the flavour of the day.
With O! Grace and The Rock of Ages, Molina has something of an opening set. These are among the best songs that he has ever put to record. Josephine is a cinematic album. Like a Coen brothers' film, it takes time to reveal itself, unfolds and relaxes as it goes. Molina has stated that it was Evan Farrell that suggested adding instrumentation to the mix. If that was the case, this is a great legacy.