Songs: Ohia
Ghost Tropic


4.5
superb

Review

by DoofusWainwright USER (100 Reviews)
October 20th, 2015 | 61 replies


Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Molina's Jungle is Massive

Songs: Ohia was never really a true band; the name was simply an umbrella term for various Jason Molina recordings, some of which involve other musicians. As a result the material released under this banner varies a great deal, ranging from 2002’s sparse, predominantly acoustic ‘Didn’t it Rain’ to 2003’s full band alt country classic ‘Magnolia Electric Co.’. Despite these differences in style the band’s discography still feels linked through a shared tone and geography, though intriguingly there remains one conspicuous outsider.

‘Ghost Tropic’ is one of those rare albums that has unparalleled transportive powers; the second you press play you’re swept off to somewhere disorientating and distinctly alien. Molina has a picture in his mind of where this place is and goes to great lengths to plant these same images in yours; yes he titles the album ‘Ghost Tropic’ and samples the sounds of exotic birds, but more subtly he shakes up his usual musical palette with trilling sound effects and ethnic percussion. The raw production works wonders here, these instruments feel so close that they could be in the same room as the listener. This being a Molina release the lyrics are as achingly sad as you’d expect but this time they feel distant and one step removed, almost as if he’s the ghost referred to in the title who’s now floating outside of his own body singing back to himself.

The eight songs progress smoothly with a sense of ebb and flow; ‘Ghost Tropic’ taps into something so elemental you’d hardly be surprised if the album started switching between playing forwards and backwards, possessed by some kind of tidal force. This is a dangerous album to listen to if you want to keep a close track of time; it blurs, it hypnotises and at times practically evaporates into emptiness. As a result ‘Ghost Tropic’ could be accused of skirting close to chill out or new age though you could only imagine a true eccentric using this as their go-to meditation or relaxation tape; there’s an underlying beauty here but it’s of the highly unconventional kind.

Sometimes an artist failing to achieve huge amounts of critical acclaim during their musical career is a blessing in disguise as it allows them to release highly idiosyncratic and niche projects that they’d otherwise be discouraged from pursuing. ‘Ghost Tropic’ is a prime example, that a resolutely offbeat labour of love like this can be released and find an audience should be a source of comfort to us all.



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user ratings (56)
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
DoofusWainwright
October 20th 2015


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just a short review trying to get this one a little bit of exposure, think a lot of people here would like it

TheCrocodile
October 20th 2015


2925 Comments


Is this a good place to start with this guy? I stumbled upon his name on the rym charts and thought it was kinda weird so I never checked him out...

DoofusWainwright
October 20th 2015


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Do crocs live in the tropics?



Really depends on personal taste, if you like conventional song structures then this is the worst place, if you dig atmosphere and a minimal feel then this is the perfect choice.





heyadam
October 20th 2015


2927 Comments


Dude lived/played literally five minutes from me and I didn't discover his music until I moved across country. I need to check this out -- I've only listened to Magnolia...

also, killer review man.

DoofusWainwright
October 20th 2015


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks heyadam, I've not listened to anything by Molina that I felt wasn't worth my time but this is definitely one of my personal favourites. Pretty sure you'll love it.

Archelirion
October 20th 2015


5933 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Fantastic review Doofus. Just checking this out now and it's absolutely stunning. I agree about the raw production being a massive bonus, everything sounds more personal for it I think.

theBoneyKing
October 20th 2015


18137 Comments


Great review as usual, Doof.

I've been meaning to check Magnolia Electric Co for quite a while, I'll have to get on that soon.

Digging: Pavement - Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain

DoofusWainwright
October 20th 2015


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Aaron - thanks, glad you like it



Boney - Magnolia Electric Co is essential for anyone who listens to any indie folk or alt country, sure you won't be disappointed

TheCrocodile
October 21st 2015


2925 Comments


"Do crocs live in the tropics? "

Not this one haha.

NorthernSkylark
May 3rd 2016


9588 Comments


Dig this!

Digging: Philip Glass - Glassworks

Archelirion
May 3rd 2016


5933 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Top bump dude. Was thinking about this album again yesterday, gorgeous stuff.

DoofusWainwright
May 3rd 2016


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's one of those near-classics, sometimes I'm almost convinced it's Molina's very best

UpwardSpiral
May 17th 2016


1044 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is great. Been listening to a lot of Molina lately

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
March 16th 2017


19271 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Oh lord

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
March 16th 2017


19271 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

An out of body experience in record album form



desolation isolation



phil and sufjan eat your hearts out

talktothehead
March 18th 2017


2620 Comments


I just fucking realized the name of the artist is "Songs: Ohia" and not Songs Ohio lmao

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
March 18th 2017


19271 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

He was from Lorain



boy done did my state proud

DoofusWainwright
March 18th 2017


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah I bumped this after listening this morning, atmosphere is something else

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
March 18th 2017


19271 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Last half really makes it



magnolia ain't too shabby either

DoofusWainwright
March 18th 2017


19991 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Magnolia is close to perfect.



I like everything he released that i've heard pretty much, but 'Magnolia' and this sit on opposite ends of the style scale and are my absolute favourites



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