Saturday, November 19, 2016

Magnolia Electric Co - Fading Trails

Fading Trails was released in 2006. A brief album at 9 tracks over 28 minutes, it's drawn from four different recording sessions. Despite this, it hangs together really well as an album. The Magnolia Electric Co band environment really suits Jason Molina's brand of downtempo country rock. Don't Fade On Me has a plodding Crazy Horse feel to it (a good thing), and is the first of a trio of rockers which occupy the opening third of the album. Montgomery is a very pleasing stomp but it ends tantalisingly after less than two minutes, while Lonesome Valley is very much a Nashville style rock song (if you can imagine such a thing), wearing its (black) Stetson proudly, if crookedly while Molina unleashes some fine guitar licks.

A change of pace comes with the next pair of tracks, A Little At A Time seeks to emulate Neil Young's Wrecking Ball with added growl on guitar, while sparse piano is employed on The Old Horizon which is the closest thing here to his work as Songs: Ohia. What's a little frustrating is that these admittedly fine songs arrive, cast their spell and then leave while you're just getting into them. After the country strum of Memphis Moon, Talk To Me Devil Again features a wonderfully melancholy guitar part with a lightness of touch that just makes the song.

Finally we get the primitive acoustic blues of Spanish Moon Fall And Rise and Steady Now ending the album on a kind of uncertain note. It's a really fine collection of songs, and serves as a primer for the Sojourner box set.