Super Short Review – Low – The Invisible Way

28 Dec

cover12905_236187Maybe Travis will be willing to do a longer review for this one, but I can hardly feel compelled.

I was able to see Low for free in the summer of 2011 thanks to Chicago’s awesome summer park series (which they did not really do this past year).  They were excellent.  I could not wait to get home and plow into their catalogue.

Unfortunately, that transition from live to studio didn’t quite resonate with me and I was stuck being in love with a bad that I could never quite delve all the way into, musically.

Now, that’s not to say that last album, C’Mon was bad, but it was certainly not my cup of tea overall.  The only thing I really got out of it was the exceedingly stellar “Try to Sleep“.

Now, it’s the band’s 20th anniversary, and with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy in tow as producer, they will release The Invisible Way March 18th (making this one of the worst leaks I have ever encountered).

I don’t know if it’s Jeff Tweedy’s fault, or what, but this album is just too reserved.  I’m listening to “Try to Sleep” right now, and with it’s booming drums, the xylophone?, building sonic moments and overall power, there is not one thing on this album that comes close to matching it.  The middle of the album is full of tracks that go nowhere, pleasant acoustic numbers in the same waltz-ish time signature, but without the mystique.

The opener, “Plastic Cup” could have been great if it weren’t for the fact that it’s apparently about a piss test cup.  I thought to myself, “There must be more to it than that” and right as the thought crossed my mind, Alan Spearkhawk (male lead vocalist) sings

Well maybe you should go out and write your own damn song/

and move on

So maybe he really was just screwing with us.  I don’t know.

The best song on the album, by far, is “On My Own”.  Now, there’s the Low I’m looking for.  Big booming drums, screechy guitar.  It’s a great number and it’s not too short either, like a lot of tracks featured here.  Up until this point, most of the album sounded a great deal like a collection of Magnetic Fields throwaways from the Realism sessions.

So, I’ve been harsh, haven’t I?  It’s a nice album, but I doubt it will reach the pantheon of Low releases.  Maybe I’ll change my mind after a few more listens, and you know what? If I do, I’ll let you know.  For now, the only tracks from this I’ll be keeping around are “Amethyst”, “So Blue” and “On My Own”, maybe the closer, “To Our Knees” as well, but that song kept making me think it was going to break into “It Must’ve Been Love” by Roxette at any moment, so perhaps not.

This is definitely the definition of a 6 or 6.5/10.

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2 Responses to “Super Short Review – Low – The Invisible Way”

  1. brandon 01/02/2013 at 03:55 #

    I think you’ve under-estimated this record. Also, Low has always been a reserved band, and it wasn’t really until Drums and Guns that they really started to rock out. They are in fact one of the original ‘slowcore’ bands. If that’s not your thing, that’s fine, but I love their slow-burn tracks. Parker’s voice is as gorgeous on tracks like “So Blue” and “To Our Knees”. It’s certainly mood music, give it a few more spins when you’re in a more down tempo mood, it’s perfect for such times.

    • bono212 02/02/2013 at 22:32 #

      I’m half-tempted to take this review down, as I mostly expect the album to be completely different by the time it’s actually released. I didn’t realize just HOW early it leaked. When I did, like I said, I almost didn’t review it at all.

      I’ll do a follow-up once the album actually comes out 🙂

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