Low, I Could Live In Hope
Low: Alan Sparhawk (vocals, guitar); Mimi (vocals, percussion); John (bass).
Low's records are frequently compared to the imagined bleakness and bitter cold of their hometown of Duluth, Minnesota. Adding fuel to that fire, their lyrics are often about tiredness and resignation--I COULD live in hope, but.... In spite of this, their debut album I COULD LIVE IN HOPE is actually very warm and enveloping, luring the listener slowly and surely into a place where profound resignation seems perfectly euphoric.
The songs "Words" and "Lazy," with their male/female harmonies, vaguely country-like riffs, and warm, shimmering guitars, sound a little like Slowdive. Mimi Parker's solo vocal turn--eerily tripled-tracked at times--on "Lullaby" peters out after a couple of minutes while the sparse music continues on for another seven minutes, slowly--ever so slowly--increasing in intensity and volume. Alan Sparhawk's vocals on "Rope"--the lyrics of which, in their entirety, are "You're gonna need more/Don't ask me to kick any chairs out from under you"--are effectively drawn over a swirling eddy of reverb. Somewhat perversely, the album ends with a version of "Sunshine"-the classic whose refrain is "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine." This is a classic work of no-frills shoegazing glory.
Q Magazine (9/94, p.102) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...Not since Galaxie 500's `On Fire' have rippling guitars and hammock swinging dynamics seemed so beatific, this beautiful and not at any time depressing..."
New Musical Express (9/3/94, p.52) - 7 - Very Good - "...Low seduce an audience with subtle intensities of understatement, and the brooding power of restraint..."
Option (8/94, p.110) - "...Slow. Music. Like the Cowboy Junkies. On Quaaludes. And underwater..."
I Could Live in Hope on Amazon.com