Low - review of One More Reason To Forget
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Low, One More Reason To Forget (Bluesanct)
Rating: 8.3

I received One More Reason to Forget from my undernourished record store at about the same time a dress rehearsal for the apocalypse was taking place in front of the city's casino. It was a time of civil disobedience-- the windy and confused sequel to the Seattle riots. Returning home, there was a vague feeling amongst the populace that the end was nigh. Reclining at a safe distance from the city, I played Low's new live EP, One More Reason to Forget, greatly anticipating that it would provide the soundtrack to society's long-awaited end.

The first scene was set by the aching, organ-drenched melody of Songs for a Dead Pilot's "Be There." As an ambulance flies past in outer Louisville, Alan Sparhawk gently sings, "You can't sleep backwards/ You can't save the animals." Instantly, the collision of dogma and batons outside begins to lose its edge. As the album forges its somber path, Sparhawk and Mimi Parker's melded vocals plowing the tall grass ahead, I lose hope in sedated bliss.

These tracks were recorded to DAT at Louisville, Kentucky's Church of St. Phillip Neri on November 6th, 1997. The acoustics make for a spare ambience, most notably on the brooding "Landlord." Punctuated by the occasional snare and Zak Sally's quaking bass, Sparhawk cries out with deep conviction rarely seen in this age of musical self-reflection.

Contributing violinist Ida Pearle expertly drives the classical melody of "Condescend," shadowed by the soft vocals of percussionist Parker. And when the band's stunning rendition of The Curtain Hits the Cast's 17-minute, reverb-soaked noise epic, "Do You Know Tow to Waltz," the escalating violence outside quickly disappears behind my newfound warm myopia. There seems to be no weak track on this release; the songs appear carefully chosen to create a dense, but hopeful, atmosphere.

One More Reason to Forget, capturing a stellar performance predating the existence of Secret Name, is as heartbreaking as it is soporific, leading me to believe that their strong Mormon religious convictions are partially responsible for the consistent quality of the material. This band has but one goal: to achieve an unsettling calm through highly melodic, droning vocals, minimalist percussion, and tense acoustics. Indeed, Low require no apocalypse to soundtrack; they create one.

- Pete Nicholson