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.
3. Everybody’s Song
4. Silver Rider
5. Just Stand Back
6. On The Edge Of
7. Cue The Strings
9. When I Go Deaf
10. Broadway (So Many People)
12. Death Of A Salesman
13. Walk Into The Sea