Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Low - Things We Lost In The Fire (2001)

There's an unwritten rule when it comes to making depressing music. Don't make it sad for the sake of it. Low seem to break this rule. The bands name itself seems to beg for attention. Their debut is called "I Could Live In Hope." Not to mention the fact that the two primary members are a husband and wife, destroying any notion of eternal loneliness.

Except it does work, and Low are one of the best indie rock bands around, and arguably the best slowcore band ever. This is their masterpiece.

It's somewhat of a departure from previous efforts, with a more diverse sound. On the haunting opener Sunflower, Alan and Mimi's distinctive vocal harmonies float over minimal guitar and drums. Songs range from oddly catchy (Whore) to uncomfortable almost terrifying (Whitetail). Steve Albini's production shines, and the excellent track placements prevents boredom (something sadly too common on slowcore releases)

The band really show their strengths on the truly forlorn songs. "Medicine Magazines" brings to mind the coldness of a hospital waiting room. Final track "In Metal" is the best thing the band has ever done, a beautiful song about wanting a baby daughter never to grow up.

Alright, with the two primary members are married, no suicide attempts in the band, it's easy to assume that Low are cashing in on sad music and making money off other peoples misery.
But after listening to the album, it's hard to believe you can make up this kind of sadness. Essential listening.

Genres: Slowcore, Indie Rock

1 comment:

  1. Nice review. However if you read about Alan Sparhawk you'll find he's had serious mental health issues. I think the misery is genuine.