Album Review | Songs: Ohia – Didn’t it Rain (2001)

Songs: Ohia is the moniker under which Jason Molina has released the best death defying acoustic/folk-songs this side of the grave. Molina comes from under a dead Ohio sky and he knows smouldering, overwhelming darkness.

Talking about Songs: Ohia’s record “Didn’t It Rain” almost feels like an invasion of privacy. I can’t help but feel like I’m inviting you to a sightseeing tour of my most personal side. I’m not even sure I want you to hear this record, I’d like to keep it as my own.

The first chord of “Didn’t it Rain”, the albums title song, slams down as an exhausted sigh of mixed relief and passive aggressiveness.  Jason Molina is a master of the spectral simplicity, managing to fill up an entire space with his beautiful voice. He has one of the best voices I’ve ever heard. I can become completely obsessed with small things in his songs, like the way he phrases a word or the way he slides from one note to another like he almost didn’t make it there.

You can feel the agony in his voice. He makes you feel it in your stomach with his repetitive verses and the way he pounds at words like he never wants to sing them again. There is no attempt to sweep anything under carpet. Molina embraces and cradles the gloom, slowly singing it to sleep. “Didn’t it rain” is a good introduction to the shadowy world of songs:ohia. It’s a warm and intimate record, as most simplistic records are. The reason this record stands out from previous Songs: Ohia-records in my opinion is that it is the most cohesive. Although it’s a dark affair it’s a very positive and soothing record. Molina shows that there’s a way out of whatever darkness you might have entered into; “step by step”.

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