Low, "Things We Lost In The Fire" [Kranky]
It should be obvious to anyone who's ever heard Lowıs music that subtlety is a key concept. The simple, yet poetic and layered, lyrics and atmospheric sound are both hallmarks of the band's work. It is this artistic innocence, simplicity and purity that make Low so accessible to the listener. The bandıs most recent effort, to be released Feb. 6, both achieves that accessibility and retains the quality and emotional depth of previous works. Like any work of art, however, the true beauty of the album is in the details.
This can be said of Low, Steve Albini and Tom Herber's sonic treatment of Things We Lost In The Fire. The essence of the album lies in this subtlety of construction and spaces of atmosphere created within the songs themselves. Low's persistently enigmatic lyrics demand attention, but the beauty of the production wins out. The band sounds grand, orchestral and at times even huge. This is difficult to imagine for most who are used to the Spartan live trio of Parker, Sally and Sparhawk, but the rich textured instrumentals and trademark male/female harmonies do raise the bar of what one believes the band is capable of.
Highlights such as "Sunflower", "Medicine Magazines", the distraught-sounding "July" and "Like A Forest" are impressive in their songwriting, captivating in their performance. However, the entire album stands as the strongest work Low has yet to produce and listeners both new and old, both curious and familiar would be well-advised to give this album a piece of their life.
The Feb. 7 concert at Duluth's Sacred Heart Music Center will showcase the Low experience in full.
- Tim Anderson
Things We Lost in the Fire on Amazon.com