Low - Magnet's review of Things We Lost In The Fire
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Low, "Things We Lost In The Fire" (Kranky)

Heaviness, as it relates to music, usually refers to the total amount of decibels per note. Think of it as a sort of rock 'n' roll raw score, a cold calculation of how far into the red a record pushes one's stereo system, a sign marker along the road to deafness. But then there's another kind of heaviness. It exists chiefly between the notes, a measure of tension and philosophical gravity that relates not so much to the way a record sounds as to the way it feels. Low knows about this kind of ballast, about letting everything rise to a slow, deliberate simmer. You can hear it if you listen to the Duluth, Minn., band's fifth album. It's in the resonant, exultant chorus of "Dinosaur Act," the way the constellation verses finally splinter and explode like a supernova, hot and sudden. It's in the fragile plea for grace on "Laser Beam," so desperate it's heartbreaking, a single voice searching for life and hope amid the emptiness. It builds slowly at the start of "Like A Forest," guitarist Alan Sparhawk's tripled vocals sailing over steady, swaying strings, swelling as he sings, "How could I blame you/For all of the screaming?" In the end, it's not about force, not about the number on the volume knob. When drummer Mimi Parker coos, "Crushing your skull with my warming embrace," the truth at long last becomes startlingly clear: Low is the heaviest band in rock. [Kranky, POB 578743, Chicago IL 60657]

-J. Edward Keyes


Things We Lost in the Fire on Amazon.com