Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Jason Molina - Pyramid Electric Co.

Jason Molina released this solo album in 2004.  In contrast to the fuller sound of his band work, this was a return to the starker, sparser sound of earlier Songs: Ohia albums.  Entirely without percussion, the album features slow, lengthy songs of occasional electric guitar with some low key wailing from Molina.  The title track sets the tone, its low key, guitar rumbles are almost impressionistic in nature, particularly in the drifting coda where the merest guitar and whispered, wordless vocals occupy the final minute and a half.  Like the most downcast side of Bonnie Prince Billy, the glacial piano of Red Comet Dust and later the guitars of Spectral Alphabet conjure up a barren, lonely atmosphere, with lyrics on the latter such as "their names inscribed by death in a spectral alphabet".  Division St. Girl and Honey, Watch Your Ass are more familiar territory for Molina, slow, three chord guitar crawls.  Everything is barely there, even at high volumes you need to listen intently.  Later, Song of the Road is, if anything more downbeat, a minimal track based on a skeletal guitar progression.  So if you like Jason Molina at his most forlorn, and stripped back, this one's for you.