Low - review of Secret Name
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Low, Secret Name [Kranky]
Rating: 7.6

After Low's last effort, a home- recorded, experimental EP called Songs for a Dead Pilot, it was hard to know what to expect from the new record. Would it be a retreat to their trademark, polished studio slow-core? Would it be noisier and even more edgy than the EP? Honestly, no one had any idea. Then, it came. January 1999: a small package from Kranky Records. A surprise.

I hadn't been expecting a new Low record, but there it was-- shiny and new before my eyes. I threw it in the car disc player on the way to get my wisdom teeth pulled. It calmed me. Secret Name shows the band approaching new territory, while keeping their old sound intact. The catchy melodies are still here, as evidenced by tracks like the hummable, cushiony soft "Starfire" and the mournful "Missouri." But there are also changes in production technique. They've given the record a slightly more homegrown feel, cutting down dramatically on their ultra- reverb shoegazing tendencies.

So, if you're going into this expecting something along the lines of Long Division and The Curtain Hits the Cast, you might be a bit thrown off by Secret Name. And then you might not be. Because as many changes as Low have made for this record, they're still the same, trustworthy, lovely Low, making sweet, sweet harmonies to lull you to sleep and haunt your dreams.

-Ryan Schreiber