Songs: Ohia The Lioness

Jason Molina's Songs: Ohia project goes global for its fourth album. The talented American singer/songwriter recorded The Lioness in Scotland with like-minded Glaswegian musicians Aidan Moffat and David Gow of Arab Strap, and Alasdiar Roberts of Appendix Out. Songs: Ohia veterans Geof Comings and Jonathan Cargill also came along for the ride. The transatlantic recording session inspired Molina to produce what is both his darkest and cheerful record to date. The sound turns downright sultry at times, as in "Lioness," when he exclaims to his lover, "You can't get here fast enough." Love rears its head often in the mix of these nine new tracks. In the past, Molina's sparse moody pop has fixated on ended affairs and broken hearts; this time round, seemingly inspired by the theme from The Love Boat, he's set his sights on "love, exciting and new." Since this is a Songs: Ohia record, there is still plenty of gritty observation and gloomy examination about falling in love. These songs contain even dosages of hope and fear. The way Molina sees it, the start of a relationship can be as scary and painful as its end. "Every kiss is a goodbye," he sighs in earnestly in "Coxcomb Red." The strident tone in his voice ends up saying more than the actual lyric, however. Life is beautiful, but it's also horrible, cold, scary and there are wolves. (Secretly Canadian)