Low, The Curtain Hits The Cast
Low's spare, breathtaking pop is so fragile it threatens to dissipate into thin air, but after two years and three oft-stunning albums, it never has. With last year's occasionally brilliant Long Division behind it, Low has made an album that--like 1994's I Could Live In Hope--is always brilliant. Whether Low plays swaying ballads ("Stars Gone Out"), dissonant epics (the nearly 15-minute "Do You Know How To Waltz?") or staggering vocal exercises (Mimi Parker's riveting "The Plan"), everything here is engrossing and gorgeous. As on Long Division, Parker's incomparable voice is too often replaced by that of less incomparable singer/guitarist Alan Sparhawk, but the songs on which he sings lead are pretty damn dazzling too. In case you can't tell, Low is incredible, and at 65 minutes, The Curtain Hits the Cast is another generous and beautiful entry in its canon.