Low, Long Division [Vernon Yard]
Rating: 7 / 10
GALAXIES ARE born and die between choruses. Bass guitars just about roll out of bed in time for their cue, then pop back for a nap before their second note. The Red House Painters fidget in their seats and mutter something about 'getting on with it'. Yup, if the 'lost' 1995 second album by Minnesota's plod-rock maestros Low proves anything, it's that their magnificent third album, 'The Curtain Hits The Cast', was anything but the come-down from the world's biggest amphetamine binge.
It's also pretty convincing testament to the fact that Low's languid search for their mislaid capital 'S' has been lit with sparks of minimalist genius throughout. It's almost as if Alan Sparhawk (Arooga! Totally inappropriate name alert!) has been locked in a recording studio with the same two chords for company, bemoaning his lack of a girlie/dawg/life for the past three years, only being allowed to switch the tape on for 45 minutes a year as a special Christmas treat. So, anyone who's swooned along to last year's 'The Curtain...' LP for more than 30 seconds will know the score: Lamp-lit cowboy methadone blues 12, Rampant shama-lama ding-dong RAWK 0. And that's after serious extra time.
But what's remarkable about 'Long Division' is how an album that should be as interesting as a six-hour documentary on Ocean Colour Scene's favourite plectrums turns out to be so entrancing.
It's a mood thing, obviously. Give them an Ash support slot and they'll be run out of town by a rabid mob shouting, "BURN THE SLOWDIVE COPYISTS!!" But a few sympathy bottles of Jack Daniel's down the line and the likes of 'Throw Out The Line', 'Caroline' and 'Alone' feel like eternal hymns to the shattered soul and bugger me if there aren't nifty tunes in there as well. If you're not rushing off anywhere, that is...