Friday, January 22, 2016

Songs: Ohia - Didn't It Rain

After the woozy delights of Ghost Tropic, Jason Molina released quite a different sounding album in 2002 in Didn't It Rain.  It feels for first time like a band album rather than solo.  And it sounds like he's taken a dose of Neil Young.  The title track is like Young's Old Man but slower and darker with Jennie Benford providing a moody wordless vocal accompaniment, over clean and clear guitar chords.  The tension is ratcheted up a notch on the following track Steve Albini's Blues, where a simple, insistent two chord guitar progression lasts throughout the song as Molina and co softly moan "on the bridge out of Hammond".

Ring the Bell introduces a fuller, more rounded sound as the repetitive, loping chords sway back and forth.  Later, the album shifts to prime Zuma-era Crazy Horse with the swaying Blue Factory Flame.  The track is strangely addictive, as over eight minutes Molina and Benford sing repeatedly about being "paralysed by the emptiness".  After the brief Two Blue Lights the album concludes with Blue Chicago Moon.  Those disillusioned with Neil Young's more recent material could do worse than check this out, though it's beyond imitation, the track is unhurried, taking its sweet time to unfurl.  Molina again makes use of repetition, singing about "endless, endless, endless depression".

It's another fine album from Jason Molina, showing progression from Ghost Tropic, really getting into his stride on this one.