April 4, 2002

Test Spin: Songs: Ohia

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Late at night, have you ever felt the clutch of depression and searched for the perfect music to reflect your mood? Look no further than the tender yet redeeming gloom of Didn’t It Rain to turn your brooding into an almost uplifting appreciation of sadness. The singing, songwriting, and guitar work of Jason Molina — the one man who collaborates with a host of indie-rock and folk artists to create Songs: Ohia — reaches out beyond over-emotionalized artifice and strikes a rarely reached chord with our deepest, internal conflicts.

Here, Molina focuses less on instrumentation and more on delivering an intimate indie-folk experience through his poignant tenor and wistful guitar. The lulling vocal harmonies of Jennie Bedford combine with Molina’s biting lead to create an irresistible brew of pain and pleasure, especially on “Blue Chicago Moon,” where Jason cries “I’ll help you try, try to beat it/ and live through space’s loneliness.” You might think emotional pining is easily overdone, but Songs: Ohia remains grounded in simple, bare earnestness, which allows Didn’t It Rain to capture beautiful misery.

Archived article by Andrew Gilman