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Magnolia Electric Co.
WHAT COMES AFTER THE BLUES
(Secretly Canadian)

Once upon a time, Jason Molinaís plaintive acoustic dirges had some deriding him as a poor manís Will Oldham. After 2003ís Magnolia Electric Co., the album with which he retired the Songs: Ohia name, the comparison was Bob Seger. But he was so much older then; heís Younger than that now. Thereís always been a Youngian influence at work in his world-weary, weather-beaten songs ó especially when he cranks the amps to 11. And on the first studio album from his new band, Molina (no relation, I presume, to Crazy Horse drummer Ralph Molina) flaunts big guitar rock in all its ragged glory.

Heís got a knack for stunning opening tracks, and on "The Dark Donít Hide It," a bitter indictment of betrayal and duplicity, he does it by cribbing a trick from the Young songbook, bashing out a sunny melody thatís fused to forlorn lyrics sung in a Reedy voice. "The Night Shift Lullaby" recalls an Appalachian mountain ballad, starting soft and acoustic before flowering under the force of muscular layered guitars and weeping steel guitar. "Give Something Else Away Every Day," with its murky atmospherics, somnambulant mellotron melodies, and serpentine guitar licks, sounds like the drink-deadened nocturnal sessions for Youngís Tonightís the Night. Molina even divides the disc, à la Rust Never Sleeps, roughly into electric and acoustic halves. "Northstar Blues" is pretty and sad, with a quaking vocal delivery accented by mournful violin. And in "Leave the City," he rumbles down some white-lined highway as tears stream down his face. The song does incorporate trumpet. I donít think Neil ever did that.

(Magnolia Electric Co. perform tonight, April 14, at the Museum of Fine Artsí Remis Auditorium, 465 Huntington Avenue in Boston; call 617-369-3306.)

BY MIKE MILIARD


Issue Date: April 15 - 21, 2005
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