Low, Long Division (Vernon Yard)
from CMJ Issue 429, 29 May 1995.
Low made such a strong impression with its debut album, I Could Live In Hope, that its follow-up is saddled with the tough task of surpassing the initial release or playing with its formula in new ways. As the soft waves of Long-Division unfurl, it's clear that competition and betterment are not what this subtle trio is after. In place are the almost untappably slow rhythms, eked out by Zak Sally's careful bass notes (they're hardly "lines") and Mimi Parker's solitary percussion (they're hardly "drum beats"), and the barely-there melodies water-colored by Alan Sparhawk's guitar. The lifeblood of Low's songs remains the vocals of Parker and Sparhawk, which mingle with gentle precision on "Throw Out The Line" and "Caroline," carrying the airy weight of the songs melodies. The plucky guitar line and lulling chorus of the album's first cut, "Violence," build a thick tension which resonates in the air with foggy density, while the warm timbers of Parker's emotive voice steer the spare "Below & Above" in a slightly different direction. The deliberate pulse of "Turn," the band's slowest song yet, sets a new standard for this sort of delicacy, the song's taut construction padded with no unnecessary cushioning.
- LYDIA ANDERSON: CMJ New Music Report Issue: 429 - May 29, 1995