Low, "Things We Lost In The Fire" (Kranky)
Following on the heels of "Secret Name" (excepting the mini-album release entitled "Christmas"), Low deliver a fine offering in their newest release, "Things We Lost in the Fire". Their departure from the sonic minimalism of their early work continues in this collection of songs, with the use of strings and piano building on the promise of "Secret Name" and taking it a lot further. This is a much thicker sound for Low, worlds away from "Long
Division" but ever faithful to the idea of Low, possibly due to the presence of Steve Albini whose recording ideology avoids mucking around with the overall sound of the group whom he's recording.
It isn't just the sonic aspect of Low's music that has evolved here. The majority of these songs are a little faster than what Low is known for (they aren't known to be fast!), and they also seem to be dabbling a bit with more conventional song forms as well. As songs go, this is a fine batch of 'em
From the first moments of the opener, "Sunflower", on to my personal favorite track ("Dinosaur Act") and practically all the way through the album, the songs speak with their own language and range of senses, and perhaps even a small hint of irony (the song "Whore" comes to mind for some reason) to keep you listening.
Oh, and in case you didn't know, the harmony and vocal interplay of husband and wife Alan Spearhawk and Mimi Parker is practically unmatched in modern music. Yet another reason to put Minnesota on the map!
If you haven't heard Low before, I would first run out and buy "The Curtain Hits the Cast" as to give you a sense of history, of what they have grown from. This would be next on my list. I don't believe it's in this group to make a bad record, to be quite honest, and this is proof indeed.
- Jack Alberson
Things We Lost in the Fire on Amazon.com