Billed as a companion piece to Songs: Ohia’s 2003
breakthrough Magnolia Electric Co., Pyramid Electric Co.
finds Jason Molina — proprietor of the Songs tag — back
on his own again, recording an album of slow-leak hymns in his
bedroom. A marked departure from Magnolia’s soupy
bombast, Pyramid is reminiscent of earlier Songs material:
The sparse instrumentation serves as a backdrop for Molina’s
even, arresting tenor and his urban poetry.
For the first time in his career, Molina sounds at ease with the
opposite sex. Foregoing past “She done me wrong”
themes, Pyramid is empathetic and even apologetic. For all
of the misogyny that the title “Honey, Watch Your Ass,”
implies, the song is just that — a warning. Elsewhere, the
electric prickle of the title track and the touching
“Division Street Girl” are as affecting as anything in
Critics will find this album heavy-handed, but they’re
only partly right — the mood is grim, to be sure, but there
are subtle humors buried in Molina’s restlessness.
Magnolia was a huge step in Molina’s development, and
while Pyramid isn’t of the same magnitude, it’s
a fine primer for those whose first Songs experience was
Magnolia. A lateral step, to be sure, but one that was well
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.