Love at Low Speed is an especially personal collection of songs by Abram Shook, delving into the end of an eleven year relationship with all the serious song-weight you’d expect from that. The music is gorgeous and fully-detailed, packed with sweet strings, groovy bass and Shook’s impressive tenor vocals. Released by Western Vinyl.
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It’s a cliche, but I can’t help but love “The Hours”, the opener to mumbly folk boy Abram Shook’s new, appropriately named record ‘Love At Low Speed’. The tune is evergreen on a break-up, relating it into weighty existential terms, strapping itself into a time in life where you gotta work out how to do real, practical adult stuff -- it diminishes love songs into asking what they are, talks about that point in depression where you know you can’t stay in bed but can’t see any way out of it either. Obvious stuff, told over plaintive guitar weaves and heart-shivering double bass -- pastoral and emo, it gets straight into my gut.
I promise it won’t make you feel too bad, though. Recording his music in a cramped but cosy space, Abram Shook’s nice, plaintive arrangements feel especially close to the frame, but usually favour the comfort of an arm chair to the devastating conversations happening in them. Their booming basslines and countrified twang feeling symbiotic on “Eventually”, another tune that meditates on the constancy of loneliness. The crooned but warped “Divinity” sounds something like newer Yo La Tengo, making heartbreak sound kinda like staring into a nice winter fireplace; “Machinery” pushes vocal harmonies up to eachother so close I start to just feel happy the boy’s got a pal to rely on.
It is an unbelievably soothing record, truth be told -- using old-school rock licks and that kinda pushed-out bass work that makes low-key indie rock albums shine, Abram Shook makes the kind of album you could groove to for hours and hours and hours. It’s perhaps a fitting tribute to what you do with your time when a relationship ends -- like James Taylor on the chillest low of his life, Abram Shook spends a lot of time keeping comfy.
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