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Low - The Great Destroyer


Review: Jack Foley

LOW is a trio from Duluth, Minnesota, who make very slow music - or so the band's website states!

Anyone who listens to their seventh album, The Great Destroyer, however, could well be in for a surprise. For as singer-guitarist, Alan Sparhawk states: "You want a rock record? Here’s your stinkin’ rock record."

The Great Destroyer may still be Low's version of a fast album but it ups the decibels considerably to rate among the finest work of their career.

Tracks such as the Jesus and Mary Chain-style Monkey, or the sun-drenched rock-driven California epitomise a bolder, brighter and altogether more lively sound for the outfit, which marks a very welcome progression.

And the surprises keep on coming, from the aggressive Everybody's Song, which sort of mixes a grunge-style with a lyrical sound that could easily be Super Furry Animals, to the opening moments of the psychedelia-laced On The Edge Of, which draws favourable comparisons with the guitar-style of early Pink Floyd.

The slow-building, slow-tempo style that the band is renowned for is still present in quieter moments, such as the pensive Silver Rider, or When I Go Deaf, which take a little while to find their stride - but it serves to ensure that the hardcore fans are still catered for.

More outwardly accessible and downright fun, however, are the likes of Just Stand Back, with its classic rock style and fluent riffs (which would make a really great single), the shimmering Step (which bears comparisons with The Flaming Lips) and the slower, sadder Cue The Strings, which contains a memorable keyboard.

Importantly, the band's penchant for quiet voices and powerful lyrics, sung in Sparhawk's distinctive style, is apparent, coupled with the more ambitious production values of producer Dave Fridmann (who even plays keyboards on several tracks).

It is, in short, a new high for Low.

 

Track listing:
1. Monkey
2. California
3. Everybody’s Song
4. Silver Rider
5. Just Stand Back
6. On The Edge Of
7. Cue The Strings
8. Step
9. When I Go Deaf
10. Broadway (So Many People)
11. Pissing
12. Death Of A Salesman
13. Walk Into The Sea

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