9/10 Clinton Staff review, 08 April 2011
Low are one of those bands that very often seem to do no wrong and even when they do misfire everyone seems to be so happy to have them around that they get away with it. Following on from Robert Plant covering a couple of their tunes on his last album, there certainly seems to be a bigger push around Low this time. Whereas their previous long player 'Drums and Guns' was a leap stylistically into the left-field with an adoption of electronics and loops, this is a return to their more traditional sound albeit with more bells and whistles on. The first two tracks demonstrate their strengths perfectly. Opener 'Try to Sleep' is one of those classic tumbling Low tunes, extremely melodic and easy on the ear. I'm similarly impressed with 'You See Everything' which has a lovely laid back summery vibe with the always fantastic vocals of Mimi Parker to the fore. 'Witches' seems to be getting plaudits in the reviews I've read but its excellent Neil Young-like chunky chord sequence is marred by some dodgy lyrics and an ill-advised guitar solo. Actually the next couple of songs are rather forgettable, not really adding anything new or interesting to their extensive catalogue but the double whammy of 'Majesty/Magic' and 'Nightingale' put the album back on track with some stunning harmonies and eerie atmospheres, the dynamics are particularly impressive on 'Nightingale' which sounds like a lost out-take from Lambchop's magnificent 'Nixon' album. This is a flawed album definitely, it seems to be an attempt to utilise everything Low are good at in order to produce an album that will not alienate long term fans but will also appeal to new listeners and those who have come to them via the poodle haired one himself. If this was the remit then it more than succeeds.
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