DUSTED MAGAZINE

Dusted Reviews

Low - C知on

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist



Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted


email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews


Artist: Low

Album: C知on

Label: Sub Pop

Review date: Apr. 12, 2011


Low - "Especially Me" (C'mon)


Back in the 1990s, we used to know what to expect from Low. The songs would be slow, delicate and tinged with a spiritual ache. Then came the changes strings, fuzz-tones, rhythms faster than an old man痴 walk. The pace of transformation accelerated on the Minnesotans last two albums, where loops, electronics and grimy textures matched the destruction-haunted horror of the songs. The Great Destroyer and Drums and Guns sound like Neil Young had he tried to realize Rust Never Sleeps with Bowie and Eno in Berlin.

C知on reminds me of another Neil Young album: Harvest Moon. Not that it sounds like Young痴 return to Nashville it doesn稚 but it does seem like a self-conscious return to a style the band once seemed anxious to escape. C知on is the first Low record in a while with songs that sound like those 90s recordings. All of the sonic experimentation has been stripped out, and in its place is a sound that is at once spare, big and ethereal. It was recorded in a church, and the space around Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker痴 harmonies is so vast that it sounds like the engineer let their voices fly a few circuits around the rafters before snagging 弾m with the microphone. Parker痴 snare drum, tom and cymbal (she still doesn稚 use a sit-down kit), which were nearly supplanted by programmed beats on 2007痴 Drums and Guns, keep a patient tempo. New bassist Steve Garrington痴 playing is so understated you barely know he痴 there, and his keyboard tones bolster the song structures rather than abrade them. Sparhawk痴 guitar drops the effects-laden flickers he played last time around in favor of straightforward, often acoustic strumming. One can almost imagine the meeting where they agreed that it痴 time to let the freaky stuff take a rest and give the people what they want.

Drums and Guns never directly addressed America痴 wars, but violence had rendered its characters soul-sick. C知on is all about what comes after. The guy in 展itches does his best to seem big and bad by waving around a baseball bat, but it痴 all for show, and the sooner he figures it out, the happier his kids will be. And if the wandering pilgrim in 泥one isn稚 quite ready to go home, he knows he痴 headed that way soon. Parker might insist that she doesn稚 want to be the clown for some skyclad emperor, but she also puts her hand out with the invitation to 鼎ome on in, the water痴 fine. It wouldn稚 be a Low record without plenty of unease, but the soothing, uplifting music works at cross purposes to the lyrics. Shit may have happened to the people on this record, but they池e not only still standing, they池e walking in the same direction.

Neil Young may once have sung about the virtues of burning out rather than fading away, but he痴 still kicking 30 years after uttering those words. Sparhawk and Parker have likewise pulled back from the brink, put their heads down and kept going.

By Bill Meyer

Other Reviews of Low

Trust

The Great Destroyer

Drums and Guns

The Invisible Way

Read More

View all articles by Bill Meyer

Find out more about Sub Pop

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.