Molina realizes he’s lost in America
With both his former band Songs:Ohia and his current outfit Magnolia Electric Co., Jason has written eloquent odes to travel and women—specifically, the way one precludes the other. Those two driving ideas have never been more overt than on Josephine, his third studio album with the Co., but Molina sounds newly self-conscious on these songs. With the title character appearing in several songs amid frequent descriptions of desert landscape, Josephine sounds like a concept album, at times tedious or academic. “As long as there are sundowns, there will always be the West,” he sings on “Song for Willie,” a lackluster piece of cowboy poetry. But the Co. backs him ably and inventively, adding a gentle sax solo to opener “O! Grace,” early-rock piano to “The Rock of Ages,” and lush harmonies to “Hope Dies Last.” The Co. redeem these songs by creating beautiful scenery for Molina’s long, hard drive.