SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Up there, I said sparse, slow, elegant to describe the album in an nutshell. I don’t think anything else can describe this album.
The second long-player from Low digs into the slowcore, with beauty in slowness, in space, in minor keys and harmonies. But it doesn’t seem depressing all the way through. It even sounds uplifiting at times when they move from a very quiet and spase arrangement to something more ‘lively’.
Tracks like “Violence”, “Caroline”, and others were a definite antidote to the post-grunge clatter that was happening. In its quiet, angst and hope are delivered without sound-alike noise.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: AllMusic lists a track as written by the guys in .38 Special. Though it shares a title, and Low has covered some oddball tracks outside of their idiom, this is not that .38 Special song.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE A: The more you listen, the more you’re enchanted by the slow elegance.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: It started as a lark, but it became a serious project with some fantastic tracks right out of the gate.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Issuing a five song EP first (with tracks later repeated on this and their second album), then releasing this, their full length debut, Low turned the alternative world on its head. Slowly and hauntingly, Low became the exact opposite of grunge.
Alan Sparhawk’s lachrymose baritone is joined by his wife Mimi Sparhawk’s harmonies to provide an eerie set of harmonies, and the simple instrumentation (guitar, bass, a brushed floor tom and cymbal) evoke a mood. The songs are not dirges, though. These are mood pieces that evoke sadness and hope, and the tempos only add to the atmosphere.
At times, the songs drag on a bit too long (three tracks over six minutes long that could have been trimmed) but there’s nothing that’s totally a throw away. This is a great debut from an important band in alternative circles.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Sparhawk and Nichols were in a standard grunge band, and they formed Low out of rehearsals where they were improvising quiet sounds.