Magnolia Electric Co.

Hard to Love a Man

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Jason Molina and Magnolia Electric Co were on a tear in 2005, beginning the year with a live album before issuing What Comes After the Blues and Hard to Love a Man in the space of a few months. Magnolia's music is never as fast as their release schedule, though, and on this EP the combo returns to What Comes After's melancholy and rootsy indie sound. Molina's reedy vocal is streaked with emotion on the title track, and Jennie Benford's harmonies help paint in its slight but powerful melody. In fact all the songs on Hard to Love are slight -- Molina's voice never resonates beyond a slightly lengthened vowel, and the instruments sound like they're at half volume, like Magnolia's afraid they'll wake their elderly neighbors. But it's not volume the band is after. The characters and stories in "Bowery" and "31 Seasons in the Minor Leagues" ring louder than an amplifier, and their cover of Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London" injects a little tossed-off fun into Hard to Love a Man. "Ha! I'd like to meet his tailor!"

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