Lois / Mad Planets / Low / The Receptionists, The Paper
Papercut 004 is back to compilation. Lois Maffeo's "A Summer Long" is a pretty, unassuming acoustic-guitar-and-voice ballad, blurring the line, as it seems to me her songs often do, between indie and folk. Most of Mad Planets' "Super 8" is much less aggressive than their song on the split with My Favorite, substituting backing-vocal ahhs and splashing cymbals for the earlier song's blasting guitars, although they do still squeeze in a noisy interlude toward the end. Low is a weird choice for a compilation, to me, as their songs never seem comfortable unless they're surrounded by other Low songs, or else the void of interstellar space, but "Lift" is as mercilessly minimal as anything they've done, and when "lift", "me" and "up", drifting so far from each other that telescopes are days behind, somehow resolve into a phrase, and an emotional entreaty at that, it's such a shock that I scarcely notice when the song ends and somebody else's begins. The Receptionists' mousy "Chills" is easy to miss, at that, barely longer than two minutes and, once you work out the implied punctuation, maybe only three real sentences before the fadeout. Placed back to back, though, Low and the Receptionists inform each other in a way the two bands' own records don't, the Receptionists' recorded-in-a-dorm-room informality emphasizing the resilient simplicity of Low's songs, and Low's epic stasis underlining the minimalist edge of the Receptionists'.
- glenn mcdonald (this review is copyrighted by him, 1999)