Adrian Cooper has been unwell

Old reviews that are no longer available online, or from sites that no longer exist. The pen is dead, long live the camera.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

'Things We Lost In The Fire'

Sometimes the strangest partnerships can be the most rewarding. Some people swear by peanut butter and jam; Edmundo and Romario helped Sao Paolo win the inaugural World Club football Championship, even though Romario had previously banned his striking partner from his bar following a feud which started within weeks of their first playing together; and Low have once more enlisted the production skills of Steve Albini. But, as with the p&j sandwich and the silky skills of Brazilian football’s most troublesome pair, this unlikely combination of the slowest band since Galaxie 500 and post-hardcore noise-nik is also proving to be a winner, having already resulted in the seemingly effortless beauty 1999’s ‘Secret Name’.

As such, we pick up here where ‘Secret Name’ left off. Loaded with understated beauty and a depth of sound that slowly builds in power in spite of the funereal pace that prevails, ‘Things We Lost In The Fire’ evokes an almost spiritual grace, gradually overwhelming you as the voices of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker draw you further into their world.

Following the classic Low blueprint, ‘Things We Lost In The Fire’ finds a balance between the bass-heavy resonance of ‘Whitetail’ and ‘Whore’, and an affecting sublimity, characterised by the rumbling opulence of ‘Sunflower’ and former single ‘Dinosaur Act’. Album closer ‘In Metal’, reminiscent of much of their recent ‘Christmas’ mini-album, even manages to challenge ‘Immune’ as the archetypal Low song, with Mimi’s yearning vocal (“wish I could keep your little body…in metal”) carrying you over the droning guitar and pounding drums as they gradually rise to cacophonous levels, leaving no doubt that Low have managed to make a record that is every bit as wondrous as ‘Secret Name’, and continue to inject a spirituality into their music that is both breathtaking and life-affirming in it’s vitality.