Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Songs: Ohia - Impala

Impala is Jason Molina's second album as Songs: Ohia.  Released in 1998, it starts out with its bleakest, slowest moment.  An Ace Unable To Change is an account of a long dark night, Molina singing an account of "gambling with my sentiment" where "tonight I am down to my soul" over seven fairly downbeat minutes where a guitar strums glacially over a chilling organ part, and er, that's about it really.  So obviously it's really good.  After this, however, the pace picks up.  Easts Heart Divided is relatively pacy thanks to the addition of Geof Comings' drums, while This Time Anything Finite At All is almost funky.  Elsewhere it's very much Molina at his most rudimentary.  So we get the manic, one and a quarter minute strum of One of Those Uncertain Hands and the Will Oldham-sounding The Rules of Absence and Just What Can Last.  Songs like A Humble Cause Again only briefly spark into life before being abruptly ended.  Later, there's a dark, sparse beauty to Program: The Mask and Separations: Reminder.

Hard work?  Perhaps.  But a dense and mysterious album.