Oh, the anticipation

Gosh, Mock The Week is rather funny. That Frankie Boyle does come out with some outrageous stuff. Chortle.
Anyway, that Magnolia Electric Co boxset. I suspect that may be the least grandiose introduction it’ll ever get, but what do you expect from a two-bit blog that doesn’t really get freebies? It’s lovely. ‘Sojourner‘ comes in a little wooden box with a slidy lid and the band logo on the front. It’s got a weird, utterly useless poster, four CDs, a DVD and some glossy cards explaining each of the discs. Oh, and a medallion. Let’s not dwell on that or we might think that Magnolia Electric Co are wankers.
The music, for that, as I am occasionally prone to forgetting, is what it’s all about, is rather splendid. Recorded across four different locations – hence the four discs – and each featuring a different line up – Molina being the only constant, the sounds vary from full-on blues-rock right down to sparse, solo, acoustic recordings full of background hiss and fuzz. None of it is less than splendid.
However, I can save myself a lot of time on the reviewing here. First up, if you’ve never bought a Magnolia Electric Co/Songs : Ohia/ Jason Molina record before, this isn’t the one to start with. If you have then it’s very easy to give you some reference points. The most obvious starting block is the ‘Fading Trails‘ album from last year, which features selected highlights from these four sessions, hence the fact that it doesn’t hold together as well as most of Molina’s albums. If the majority of it was up to scratch for you then this set is an absolute must. If you’ve not gone down the MEC route, but did like Songs : Ohia, then my guess is that you were turned off by the fuller production and bluesier, Neil Young feel to the last Songs : Ohia album, ‘Magnolia Electric Co‘. In which case, you will enjoy approximately half of the boxset with ease, but I suspect the other 50% could win you over if you give it a chance. It’s still fairly restrained and contemplative, even when it gets as close as Molina can manage to ‘rocking out’.
It is, essentially, a collection of music that lays out the different approaches that one man has taken towards music over the years. It takes all of the things that have made Molina’s records great for the last however-many years and condenses them down into one set of tunes. It’s a greatest hits featuring tunes that, in the main, you’ve never heard before.
Remember, cheapest option is to buy direct from Secretly Canadian.

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