- 07 Sep 21
Lucky 13th long-player from husband and wife duo.
Husband and wife duo, Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, have been making music together as Low for 28 years, combining monumental waves of distortion with the sweetest vocal harmonies outside a Nashville jamboree. Their 13th album, Hey What takes the avant-garde percussion of 2018’s Double Negative, but makes it a little more accessible to the common-or-garden muso.
The staccato rhythm of ‘White Horses’ is created from cut-up samples of distorted guitar, before its final minute descends into an unsettling percussive assault. The breathy vocal harmonies of ‘I Can Wait’ contrast with the abrasive backing track, as Low experiment with variations on the hard/soft dynamic that’s served them so well. The joyous ‘Days Like These’ begins with soaring harmonies, gently chiming guitar, and of course, slabs of noise, before morphing into a floaty ambient soundscape. Similarly, ‘Hey’ starts with the kernel of a sweet, shimmering pop song, albeit buried behind waves of ululating distortion, eventually transforming into an ethereal, Dead Can Dance-style instrumental epic.
The discordant backdrop of ‘Disappearing’ sounds like machines breathing, contrasting with the fragile beauty of ‘Don’t Walk Away’. The glorious ‘More’ is the sound of distorted church music crossed with ‘70s-ish songwriter balladry, while closing epic ‘The Price You Pay (It Must Be Wearing Off)’ careers off into the ether. Almost three decades on, Low still make a beautiful noise.
Out September 10.