Didn't It Rain (Deluxe Edition)
Didn't It Rain is an ode to the Midwest Rust Belt under which Molina was born and Molina's newfound Chicago home. When we move to a new place, we must truly confront all our own weaknesses and strengths, and Molina puts that all on the table with this one. The album's triple-threat center pieces come by way of "Ring The Bell," "Cross The Road, Molina," and "Blue Factory Flame." Strung together, they present clearly Molina's specific set of mythological symbols that had been forming on previous recordings. It is as heady a middle section as I can recall. But the journey across these three songs -- with their circling serpents, their neon-flame wreathed moons, their swinging blades, their debilitating emptiness -- also feels like a cleansing, a catharsis, a sort of primal therapy.
While demo'd and recorded months before the events of 9/11, Didn't It Rain does seem to somehow consider the mood of the time. It's surely an album about setting roots, but it also offers a moment of solace in a time of overwhelming uncertainty. Here, Molina's now well-known battle with depression aligns with an entire nation's moment of depression. While even more cryptic and spartan, Didn't It Rain's imagery and themes can be poetically linked to another 2002 Chicago-rooted album that tapped into the post-9/11 psyche, Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.
This expanded reissue presents Molina's home demos of the record, eight previously unreleased tracks, complete with a distant playground full of children chiming in the background for a few songs. The glorious juxtaposition of Molina's songs' desolation and the blissful playing of children is about as haunting as it gets, friends.
-- Eric Deines, Bloomington, IN, August, 2014
(SC299 released: 12/02/14)