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.
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.
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
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?"
the night. The Magnolia Electric Co are coming to get you.