Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Magnolia Electric Co. - Fading Trails
Jason Molina is one prolific motherfucker. I mean, between 1997 and 2003, he released a whopping NINE studio albums under the Songs: Ohia moniker, in addition to a live album, some EPs, and maybe something else that we don't know about because the guy in the record store put it behind a bunch of Nerf Herder albums where no one will ever find it.
Back in 2003, Molina released The Magnolia Electric Co., simultaneously killing the Songs: Ohia project, and ushering in a new day where he and his band would just play awesome Crazy Horse-style country rock because it's a damn good thing to do. Since then, we have seen Molina release a solo album, a live album with the MEC, a studio album with the MEC, maybe a few EPs here and there, and now, in this year 2006, we have yet another Molina solo album AND this record, Fading Trails, which rules. I will discuss it at greater length in the paragraph after the next one.
For all its attributes, Molina's official debut with the Magnolia Electric Co. (band) What Comes After The Blues sort of came off as The Magnolia Electric Co. (album)-lite. Magnolia was such a grand sort of record. There is simply no denying the power of epic beauty fests such as "Farewell Transmission" and "Hold On Magnolia." That shit just grabs hold of you and makes you go, "Well, shit, I'm really moved right now." Unless you're soulless and shitty, which you may very well be. What Comes After The Blues was extremely similar in sound to Magnolia, but it just didn't have the depth of its predecessor. The songs were decent, sure, but they just DIDN'T HAVE THE SAME EFFECT, I GUESS. I don't know. It seemed like he could have knocked those songs out in his sleep. Of course, the sleep of a genius produces much greater albums than the sleep of the common man. So it was good anyway, then. But he didn't develop his band's sound at all, really. Yeah, that's it. The fucker stepped sideways, he did.
And he more or less stayed there for this new record. But it sounds darker. A lot darker. The full-band rockers are a lot more kickass and confident sounding this time, and the sparser numbers are pretty damn lovely. It's shorter, too. I like these songs a lot more than on the last one. Better melodies, more memorable lyrics. You know, at this point in his carreer, Jason Molina seems pretty content with his ability to just shit out albums like this one, and sometimes they're alright, and sometimes they're a little bit better than alright. Fading Trails is an example of the latter. If you lost track of Molina back in 2002 or something and want a taste of what kind of stuff he's doing now, go get The Magnolia Electric Co. If you can't get enough of that album's rootsy, all-American fanfares for the common man, then pick this one the fuck up, seriously.
Rating: If you like Molina's voice and unibrow, you will like this album. Awesomely enough, this album might also appeal to folks who just enjoy good albums, as I do. All of these factors contribute to my enjoyment of this album. Find a torrent of it or something.
Song: Magnolia Electric Co. - "Montgomery"...awesome song. Check out that weird piano thing at the beginning! By the way, this is actually a Rancid album.