Low, "Things We Lost In The Fire" (Tugboat)
from Mojo, February 2001
Wracked sixth album of hushed heartbreak finds Minnesotan slowcore doyens embracing the powerchord, if only a little.
Like Tindersticks, Low have moved through successive albums doing the same wonderful thing in subtly different ways. While recent single Dinosaur Act swells fuzzily with bruising intent, TWLITF is quintessential Low: stately, sepulchral, notes perfectly judged and elegantly sustained, stalked by metronomic sadness. Producer Steve Albini wisely keeps the sound uncluttered (save for occasional minimal piano, strings, and vibes), understanding that sometimes the most beautiful melodies are those you hear in your head, hanging ghostly in the spaces between the notes. Though Mimi Parker and husband Alan Sparhawk share vocal duties, crafting delicate but indelible harmonies, Mimi takes the laurels for Laser Beam (desolate and strange as Mary Margaret O'Hara or Hugo Laro) and Embrace, devastating examples of vocal restraint and precision. Measuring out grief and resilience with a steady hand, these are the best songs of Low's quiet career.
- David Peschek
Things We Lost in the Fire on Amazon.com