The persistence of loss

Low – C’mon

Stream – ‘Nothing but heart’


Low are back!

Well, they really didn’t go anywhere. Sure, there’s that whole thing with Retribution Gospel Choir (an amazing band live, really) but it’s more in the sense of the sound. Low did a bit of change with their sound with The Great Destroyer and then did it again with Drums and Guns. Both of those albums are good, even if Drums and Guns was extremely stark.

So with that previous paragraph saying absolute fuck all about this new album, let’s dig into C’mon, yes? ‘Try to sleep’ is a very dreamy (sorry) song, full of atmosphere and with that lil’ glockenspiel sound. It’s a soothing intro. ‘You see everything’ continues this dream-like reality, with a very peaceful (if solemn) pace. Mimi Parker‘s voice dominates, with Alan Sparhawk adding a bit from time to time.

The acidic ‘Witches’ is phenomenal, with the playful guitar and the banjo in the not so far distance. It feels like a very angry stream-of-consciousness and pairing it with ‘Done’ is great. Whereas ‘Witches’ is layered, ‘Done’ is very minimal, with the predominant elements being Alan and Mimi‘s beautiful intertwined voices, maybe Low’s defining soundmark.

All albums have a first attention grabber and for me, it was the one two punch of ‘Especially me’ (dreamy, with Mimi on lead vocals) and ‘$20’ (stark, with Alan on lead vocals). They contrast so much, one feeling optimistic (but sad) and the other one being extremely downbeat (but cathartic).

With that said, after a few listens is ‘Majesty / Magic’ the one that takes the cake as the best song from this album. All the best elements from the songs really gel together, to bring out an explosive finale. ‘Nightingale’ might suffer in comparison, as it is much more low key. The introspective mood continues here.

‘Nothing but heart’ it’s the eight minute mammoth that, in the long run, is the one who could take out ‘Majesty/Magic’ as my fave, though. The healthy noisy distortion at the beginning (shades of Retribution Gospel Choir – love it) and then the constant song, increasingly growing in layers until the fantastic end. Voices become like a mantra, the electric guitar goes mental and, well, it’s streaming, so I’ll shut up.

‘Something’s turning over’ is a good album closer, another thing that Low seems to excel. They do know how to bookend their albums (‘Walk into the sea’ is my fave) and this is no exception.

C’mon is a pretty good one. The side project venture has certainly paid off (Retribution Gospel Choir and Low seem to feed off each other just fine) and this album of contrasts, just like the two lead voices, is quite palatable.

Low might be a band that gets some love from the alt-press while getting a few sparse mentions in the big media and maybe with a reason: it’s a hard sell of a band, with its sound and all, but once you get into them, they are very rewarding. They will come to Sheffield soon. Can’t wait for it.

—Sam

Links

Website. Last.fm. Myspace. Spotify.

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