For Jason Molina's fourth album as Songs: Ohia, The Lioness, he decamped to Scotland and recorded with Alasdair Roberts and David Gow and Aidan Moffat from Arab Strap. The results were released in 2000, and from the opening chords of The Black Crow it's clear things his outlook has darkened a little. Molina sings a long, bleak tale of dead crows and getting weaker over simple, descending chords. The track builds gradually, developing into a pounding rhythm towards the end. Tigress shows that he can still do slinky, and this one harks back to previous albums like Impala or Axxess & Ace. The sound of the album is pretty consistent throughout, tracks like Nervous Bride, Coxcomb Red and the title track work as a song cycle, rather than a bunch of songs just bundled together. Being In Love sounds like it's using one of Arab Strap's drum machines as Molina sings "being in love means you are completely broken". Later, Back On Top and Baby Take A Look are two of the sparser, slower moments here, with echoes of Smog thoughout both.
Definitely stronger than its predecessors, The Lioness shows a major leap forward Jason Molina, setting him up for future, fuller albums.