A bloke called Alan who’s a member of Low says of One and Sixes; “I'm not going to tell you what this record is about because I have too much respect for that moment when you come to know it for yourself”. He goes on to talk about “the moment” and all that. All I know is that they continue with their slow sleuthing indie rock, which also has hints of traditional folk. They're singing well known tunes and just giving you a generally good time. Don't let up on the harmonies, y'all.
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Double LP £17.99 SP1144
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CD £9.99 SPCD1144
CD on Sub Pop.
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Double LP £21.49 SP1144X
Limited YELLOW coloured vinyl 'Loser Edition' 2LP on Sub Pop. ONE COPY PER CUSTOMER.
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If I was going to write the press release for ‘Ones and Sixes’, it would be to the point: “literally none of these songs are about pissing into a cup”. Over the past two Low records, the world’s most sonorous lullaby pop band have been developing a wicked sense of humour and the music to go with it, Alan Sparhawk’s light voice navigating folk rock epics as Mimi Parker’s harmony wobbles gleefully on by. The band that once made Red House Painters' slowcore sound like grindcore, who poured their hearts into sparsity, became a fully-fledged and fairly bog-standard indie rock band, and they sounded happy doing it. On ‘Ones and Sixes’, the musical aspirations have remained but the warm aesthetic of Americana is all but depleted, Low instead crafting a widescreen rerun of their miserable, bleakly toned origins.
Until now, ‘Drums and Guns’ was Low’s strangest record, a beguiling electro-pop slowburner with drum machines and frustratingly, intentionally awful mixing (listening on headphones is like bulldozing a house in neat sections). ‘Ones and Sixes’ plays out like a grandiose counterpart to it, full of beaming synths and crystalline guitar crunch, aiming for the versatile results of its spiritual predecessor, but making them sound a great deal cornier. A drum machine beats over palm-muted, eyelid-lowered guitar on “No Comprendre”, a song that slithers around before shaking out its mantras. The affected guitar intro of “No End”, coming into life like a U2 simulator booting up, leads into a jangle pop song echoing out the winter months. And “No Part Of Me” struggles between sentimentality and devastation on a track that sees Sparhawk and Parker humming along in unison over a cheesy guitar tone, noodling bass and… maracas?
Despite the surprising amount of creative diversions Low take on ‘Ones and Sixes’ (it’s a lot, and the record stretches through a meandering, muddled hour plus), the best work remains the most familiar: the glum “Lies”, with its aching heart and “Viva La Vida” chord sequence, provides the kind of tradeoff between Sparhawk and Parker that’s cast them as indie pop’s most heavenly band, while “DJ” is a ballad covered in grand melodic gestures but mumbled from underneath. As always, the best lyric is meaningless: “Oooh”.
This isn’t a comeback for Low as much as it is a reboot of the whole project: like Marvel ruining a classic comic-book, Low keep themselves pulpy enough for the rewatch.
8/10 PaulC Customer review, 7th October 2015
Why do I get excited about watching England play football because like most of the nation you want them to do well, beat the France 5 v 0 or Germany 7 v 0.
However instead the nation has a mega come down session when yes we get knocked out on penalties for the 18th million time.
So when Low released ones and sixes , yes I was excited and I am pleased to say I did not stop playing this record in the group stages, but for me this made the Final maybe not the best LP of 2015 but a very good performance in which 8 out of 10 performance for the star players Mr & Mrs Low.
My only sad point would be the yellow vinyl recording has a lot of background noise but you forget it as the record progresses. As good as Beach House this year and still for me Low are premier league music.
If you hate football you will hate my review and will go on holiday next year when the Euros are on, me pray we dont get France on our way to the final
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