Low/Drums And Guns

On my top ten list of all time favorite bands, Low helped to define the ‘slow-core’ movement of the Midwest. Combining minimal musical arrangements and instruments, beautiful harmonies and melodies and a sometimes maddeningly slow tempo, Low are an exquisite journey. Moving away from the ‘movement’ in recent years, Low still remains true to the roots that have served them so well. This is the band’s 8th studio release and the last since 2007.

Pretty People—-Coming out of the darkness with a noisier intro than in past recordings, Alan sings in an even higher than normal register. The music is almost abrasive and industrial in sound, but the song content is not something of syrupy sweet ideas. The song is noisy and disturbing but fits perfectly inb the Low catalog. Masterful to say the least.

Belarus—-Beginning with an almost Asianflair, the song seems almost stuck in the groove at the beginning. When the dual vocals begin, I breathe a sigh of relief as I am wrapped in the warm blanket of Alan and Mimi’s trademark harmonies. The song features some interesting strings, something I have not heard before, but it only adds to the depth of the song. This is incredible and well delivered.

Breaker—-Musically more diverse than most Low recordings. The song has an almost beat like quality to it that is enhanced by the organ sounds of the landscape. Alan again delivers a vocal that is so emotive that tears and goosebumps appear. The subtle far off vocal of Mimi evolves as the song progresses and just envelopes you in the content. This is exquisite noise and silence. WOW!

Dragonfly—-This release definitelycontains more noise than one is accustomed to, but it works so well with the climate of the world. The song does not disappoint as it features exquisite harmonies and melody and a lyrical sheet that is purepoetry. This is wonderfully depressing and incredibly uplifting in the same mouthful. The band manages to create a landscape that makes me think of a prosperous city dissolving into poverty. The sound is that powerful.

Sandinista—-A powerful set of lyrics that paint a picture of the times better than any artist could ever aspire to do. The sounds and vocals are heavily layered and full of goosebump inspiring beauty. This band has rarely disappointed me and once again hits this out of the park.

Always Fade—-To be honest, I don’t really care for the musical direction of this song. I much prefer this band to be a tad bit more sedate, but the vocal does not let me down. The harmonies are exquisite and timeless. A modern day Simon & Garfunkel, Alan and Mimi are two individuals that were meant to sing together.

Dust On The Window—-The music grows and grows as the track is introduced. Mimi takes over the vocal lead to an incredibleeffect. The quality of her voice combined with the musical sound-scape absolutely takes me back to some of the bands earliest recordings. This is incredible and necessary at this point in the release. This band has a great ability to grow, but still maintain elements of the original that will keep us fans right where we are.

Hatchet—-Bass heavy from the onset, I am somewhat disappointedwith this track. A bit to hip hoppy for my taste, the band has found the need to grow in sound but in the wrong direction for me. I like when they display a noisier sound rather than a trip-hop sound. noy a bad song, but by no means a favorite of mine.

Your Poison—-The vocal begins immediately at the onset of the song, and the delivery is fairly aggressive for this band. The music explodes and is reminiscent of the classic old days. Plodding slow and loud. Sweet and short and emphatic. WOW!

Take Your Time—-Seemingly trying to channel Portishead or similar sedate dance acts, the song has a back beat that also includes a noisier sound up in the front of the mix. Alan again takes on the vocal duty, and sometimes it becomes tiresome. Mimi has an incredible voice that needs to be displayed more often than not.

In Silence—-Noisy and erratic, the track is heavily layered with musical sounds that are nor familiar to me in the context of this band. Alan again sings in a range that seems un natural but still is passable. I don’t dislike the song, but it is a bit to contrived for me. I love the heavily layered noisy sound….nice!

Murderer—-Percussion heavy, the song features nice back ground whispers from Mimi that add so much to the mood of the song. Alan delivers a much more passable vocal that is only accented by the addition of his wife in the background. The song is somewhat noisy and industrial in sound. Again the music reminds me of cities crumbling and dreams dissolving…masterful…wow!

Violent Past—-Wow…really layered in some kind of organ sound, the song has a really heavy feel to it. Alan is barely heard above the distorted layers of sounds and noise. Wonderful in mood and element. Nice close to an interesting musical journey.

**** out of 5


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