Songs: Ohia

Magnolia Electric Co.
/secretly canadian; 2003/




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On Saturday Night, almost a week ago now, I spent a great great time in a pub we often end up. There was a party for Belldone's very own drummer Nico and all the people I knew were wasted or in the process of getting wasted, whisky, cider and beer everywhere. I drank a lot of cider as well as a couple of glasses of whisky & diet coke. I didn't fall over. I didn't throw up either. Even though the cigarette I shared with Humphrey Maurice made me feel dizzy. I was lying on his bed, something I wouldn't do sober, and he made me listen to bits and pieces of songs, he would never let them reach the end. So it ended up being a weird flow-less mix of classic rock and folk, with Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash, Nick Cave and probably someone else I can't remember. He made me listen to a Johnny Cash cover of a Nick Cave song, about death row, I can't remember the title and then he made me listen to the original version and it struck me how Johnny Cash's version had so much more to it. But then again I was drunk.

Anyway. Someone will probably tell me that my Songs: Ohia review sucks or is very incomplete. And this person will be right. I'm no perfectionist. You should have written it yourself, slacker.

Apart from The Old Black Hen, featuring an out-of-place country howler, the album is great. Everything sounds like adult folk-rock but better, since, well, Jason Molina writes and sings very delicately, like a passionate craftsman he never chooses the easy way. Magnolia Electric Co. sounds like a full band Songs: Ohia, mainly because, well, there's a full band backing up Molina. The main risk when you decide to go full band is lose the intimacy generated by raw arrangements and silence. Thankfully, even if he doesn't sound as close as he used to, this intimacy has been preserved. And more than that, it sublimed Molina's style. The Will Oldham feeling has faded away, even though comparisons may still be valid, and Magnolia Electric Co. sounds like the first album of a man who has finally found his place. 

-Barbara H

/apr 1st 2003/