Low: Ones And Sixes


I have one album of Low’s (Secret Name) and love it, and every time I hear of their other songs I’m crazy about those, too. So why don’t I have more of their stuff? Cuz I don’t know what’s good for me, I guess.

Anyway, with my recent push to listen to more now music, their release this last summer on Sub Pop seemed like a good chance to start to rectify that situation. And with a collection of 12 good songs, ten of which are at least Like, they seem set for another glowing four-clown review, right?

Well not so fast because the loudness wars and/or that thing that everybody’s doing now where they use the too loud loudness distortion as an intended part of the sonic signature is all over this record. What could be lush harmonies and instrumental soundscapes are ruined by distortion. The natural beauty of Alan Sparhawk’s and Mimi Parker’s voices is sullied beyond enjoyment.

There’s a dark vibe here, especially in the second half on tracks like “The Innocents” and “Kid In The Corner.” The timbres of both and the pulsing rhythm of “Kid In The Corner” reminds me of Mike + The Mechanics’ “Silent Running (On Dangerous Ground).”

There probably would have been a Mix in here if it hadn’t sounded so bad, but I can’t tell where that would have been. I was tempted to push one of my Really Likes up to that level (the falsetto in “Lies” is magnificent), but neither really commands the listeners attention quite enough throughout the whole song to qualify.

What’s a guy to do but give it three clowns and move on?

Really Like: “Kid In The Corner,” “Lies”
“Gentle,” “No Comprende,” “Congregation,” “No End,” “Into You,” “What Part Of Me,” “The Innocents,” “Landslide”
Meh: “Spanish Translation,” “DJ”
Song Notes:
After the jump

  1. Gentle – so sexy if not for the bad sound
  2. No Comprende –
  3. Spanish Translation –
  4. Congregation –
  5. No End –
  6. Into You –
  7. What Part Of Me –
  8. The Innocents –
  9. Kid In The Corner –
  10. Lies – falsetto is great
  11. Landslide – an outlier at 9:51 when all the others are like pop song length (the entire album is 57 minutes)
  12. DJ

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