Low – C’mon album review

This is review is a little late to the game but I’ve spent some time researching and absorbing this album. This is my first exposure to Low, and the band has a defined sound but the album felt a little disconnected. However, there are a lot of really excellent aspects about this album. In general, the music is soothing, cathartic, but also poignant and balanced.

Low is a three piece indie rock group from Minnesota. Formed in 1993, this band has had a number of different member but is currently comprised of Alan Sparhawk (guitar, vocals), Mimi Parker (drums, vocals) and Steve Garrington (bass guitar.) C’mon is their ninth studio album and their third album with Sub Pop Records. As a side note, I have to say I feel refreshed by Sub Pop Records. I am excited by all of their current artists and by the trends they are exbiting. (Apologies all around for the short tyrad.)

The highlight of this album is Especially Me. The vocal harmonies are mixed prefectly with a stable rolling guitar line peppered with chimes and strings. Especially Me features a waltzing 6/8 background that hypmotizes and Mimi Parker’s vocals harmonies just washes over you. The lyrics feel simple and epic at the same time. “But as it stands, we all need truth, especially me and probably you. Definitely you.”  The gravity and beauty with which the lyrics are presented makes this album and is one of aspects that I love about this album.

Another excellent aspect of this album is the dueling, dueting vocalists Alan Sparhawk, and Mimi Parker. Alone their voices are nice but their vocal harmonies are spectacular. Sparhawk’s baritone is deep and at times gritty and Parker’s alto is resonant and calm. Vocal harmonies are used as a tool to amb up the drama, so to speak. For example, Done starts slow and initially it seems like this song is alittle aimless but the introduction of Parker’s counter harmonies, and the pedal steel, gives the song new motion and drive. When Parker and Sparhawk sing together is a sense of together but seperate feeling. They are not perfectly blending (in the choral sense) but each voice stands on it’s own to create a new timbre.

This album has it’s hits and misses, but when Low gets it right, they can really break your heart.

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