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Boomkat Product Review:
This latest long-player from Jason Molina and his Magnolia Electric cohorts is a concept album dedicated to the passing of the band's bassist Evan Farrell, who lost his life to a house fire in December 2007. As has been proven by prior works, Molina is a songwriter with a real knack for harnessing the tone of elegy demanded from a work like this, and sure enough Josephine finds him at his strongest, distilling the mood of the album in its first few minutes: on the rousing emotive country of opener 'O! Grace', Molina strikingly sings of being "as lonesome as the world's first ghost", before some Clarence Clemens-style sax helps inject a little swagger into the maudlin weave of sounds. On Josephine Magnolia Electric Co. are down but not out, and therein lies the key to this LP's success as a tribute to a fallen comrade: there's a sense of rough-edged warmth and optimism running through the record, and it's never more clear than on the illustratively titled 'Hope Dies Last', a slice of vintage Molina buried at the centre of the album. It's lyrical, dog-eared and defiant, a perfect snapshot of a very moving, beautifully made record.