After listening to Magnolia Electric Co's new album, Trials & Errors (Secretly Canadian), Philip Cheah feels that the album's Neil Young roots are still worth searching out.

After listening to this album for three months, I must say that the original thrill has worn off. Which isn't to say that the Magnolia Electric Co isn't good but it's just that at best, they stimulate you to go back to the source, that is, Neil Young.

Recorded live just a few months after forming in 2003, Songs: Ohia mainman, Jason Molina, decided to retool his old band in favour of Magnolia Electric Co. They are essentially a four-piece with Pete Schreiner (from Panoply Academy) on drums, Mike Kapinus (from Okkervil River) on keyboards/trumpet and Jason Groth and Molina on guitars. The Molina and Groth twin-guitar attack is magnificent, at times with blazing sheets of sound, at other times, they weave in and out of each other's solo tapestries.

The first two tracks, The Dark Don't Hide It and Don't This Look Like the Dark are melodic and driving, so foot-stompingly good that you're breathless with excitement. It's a celebration of old school rock 'n' roll, unashamed and defiant.

But for all the verve and raw energy, they lack Young's ragged, jagged sloppiness. And that's why something so basically recorded as Tonight's the Night is a rock classic. Molina knows that. That's why Tonight's the Night is sampled on the final track, The Big Beast. And while the middle of this album sags into a kind of lethargic energy, The Big Beast brings back the monster groove. "Wouldn't you like to see the whole place in ruins?" Molina screams, "Every single night I hear the great beast howling?"

Yeah, tonight's the night. The Magnolia Electric Co are coming to get you.


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