Low, The Curtain Hits the Cast (Vernon Yard Recordings)
Low seem to do what the Velvet Underground wanted a young band to dorecord songs so beautiful they could only be served by ear-splitting undistorted guitar, thick, clear bass lines and drums brushed at a nearly motionless speed. Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker harmonize on a single repeated phrase, as on "Coattails" or "Over the Ocean." The masterpiece is the reverb swamped, 14-minute "Do You Know How to Waltz?" This release, their third, is actually slower than their first two (both equally purchasable, although I Could Live in Hope is superior to Long Division). Where other slow-esthetic bands seem to simply lose steam, these three Mormons from Duluth, Minn. sustain a gorgeous glimmer rife with tension, and, as their live shows attest, not a little better humor.