Songs: Ohia, Didn’t It Rain [Deluxe Reissue]

jag205.11298

Songs: Ohia
Didn’t It Rain [deluxe reissue]
SECRETLY CANADIAN
Original album score: 8/10
Reissue album score: 7/10

The music of Jason Molina has always been haunting and melancholic, and Didn’t It Rain—originally released in 2002 under his Songs: Ohia band moniker—is no exception. If anything, it is perhaps the perfect distillation of Molina’s trademark combination of soulful, plaintive vocals and timeless, blues-infected rock. Its sound is fuller than on any of his previous albums, while less energetic than many of his later recordings. The tone of the record becomes all the more poignant in light of Molina’s death in 2013, after a long struggle with depression and alcoholism. With this deluxe reissue, the album is doubled by the addition of a collection of unreleased demo recordings. These tracks are no less realized, stripped down only a little less than the album versions, with a couple different songs swapped in. The second half of the album is, in effect, a ghostly echo of the first half. Rather than simply repetitive, however, this second half engages and expands upon the first, creating a richer album that benefits from paying closer attention. Attention was something that Molina seemed to struggle with as his music gained popularity, but since his passing there has been renewed interest in his art. If that leads to more reissues like this one, it can only be a good thing for his fans.

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