Magnolia Electric Company – ICA, London 07/09/2009

September 19, 2009 by  

magnolia electric company

For a band whose wave has yet to break on our shores, the ICA is packed out. The calibre of fan in attendance is of the studious, geeky muso sort. They fuckin’ love this band and they’re not afraid to get all scowly at you if you try and get a snap in front of their face. That sort.

The band have a certain ‘Je ne sais quoi’ to them. Bands are a pretty familiar breed, a ten a penny conglomerate of scruffy boys banging out rock songs, yet the Magnolia Electric Company are something different indeed. Signed to emblematic label, Secretly Canadian (a magical silk-lined chocolate box of a label, home to a host of favourites, such as I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness, Anthony and The Johnsons, Richard Swift) they offer a thoughtful musical proposition a little left of centre.

Fronted by reedy vocalist, Jason Molina, whose dulcet tones are a dead ringer for that of a plaintive Neil Young, The Magnolia Electric Co cut a fine figure, suited and booted for the occasion of their headline show. Molina has something of the peculiar about him, he’s of slight build and has a gentle stage presence; moustachioed and with a meek manner as he quietly introduces each song. It’s evident by the virtue and voracity of his output he’s something of a genius; his songs are alive with the poignant vision of his lyrics. His vivid symbolism holds the stuffy hall in hush and the crowd are transfixed, wide eyed.

The remainder of his band back him loyally, offering venom to his gentle alt-country songs. Oh and an essential mention: they have this guitarist Jason Groth, a man who makes his guitar look like a uke strapped across the tum of his goliath-like frame, but he makes the puppy howl and yelp with his moving and physical music. He’s a compelling player and the glue to the songs, holding your attention fast. Oh man he can play.

Molina rattles through their expansive back catalogue taking in the weary searching of ‘Josephine’, the tormented ‘Hard Man To Love’, and the brisk jangle of ‘Dark Don’t Hide It’. They close their set leaving behind only the warm fuzzy feeling of having had your soul rifled by beautiful sounds. I have love for this band.

By Hannah Lanfear


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