Low - review of Songs for a Dead Pilot
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Low, Songs for a Dead Pilot [Kranky]

Wow. Have you bought the new Low album yet? Wow. HAVE YOU BOUGHT THE NEW LOW ALBUM YET? I really don't understand why you haven't. What are you waiting for? A review? Okay, here's one: it's AMAZING. Oh, all right, I'll elaborate (really though, you should just take my word for it and go get it right now). Now then, raise your hand if you've never heard Low before. Here's a pretty good description of them: slow. Really slow, really mellow. Minimal drums (just a snare and ride cymbal), minimal (and sometimes a little dissonant) guitars and bass, beautiful male/female vocal harmonies. For those of you that have never heard anything by Low before, I suggest any of their albums before this one (it doesn't matter which one, they're all breathtaking). I guarantee you will be disappointed by this album if you are not already familiar with either Low or at least other bands on Kranky, their new home label. For those of you that already are familiar with Low and thought that somehow they might have tapped the well with their last album, take another look, you will be surprised. This album is a big departure for the band, as they move away from the four minute lullaby and head into new territory involving string arrangements, droning keyboards, and risky production techniques. ("Do You Know How to Waltz," from their last album, was a good indication of where they were headed.) This album feels more like one 40 minute song with six movements rather than six separate songs. It's an experience that won't work unless you listen from beginning to end. If you're looking for pop songs, go somewhere else. Low is proving why they are one of the most innovative bands out there today. This is a band whose sound is willfully constrained by the sparseness of their instrumentation, and for more than four albums have effortlessly created original masterpieces within those constraints, without ever sounding like they might be rehashing themselves. This is one of the best albums of the year.

- Scott