Low, Trust [Rough Trade]
Seldom does a band so elemental and plaintive sound this lush and beautiful. After gracing us with one of the best albums of the ’90s (Secret Name) Low went to Albini’s Electrical Audio HQ and made one of finest of the noughties to date (Things We Lost In The Fire). Now, barely a year later, the threesome from Duluth, Minnesota offer up Trust, their most ambitious work yet, and are deserving of a reputation akin to And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out by Yo La Tengo, or maybe, at a push, even something as epoch-moulding and zeitgeist-shattering as Deserter’s Songs.
Trust begins with a gentle whistle and the sound of amps switching on. ‘(That’s How We Sing) Amazing Grace’ drifts through the speakers with the familiar classic combo of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker harmonizing in heaven. ‘Canada’ introduces a new jangly outfit from the Low wardrobe, revisited later in the awesome ‘Last Snowstorm’ which is slightly evocative of the My Bloody Valentine version of ‘We Have All the Time in the World’.
The rest is perfection. Just dive in for a taste and you’ll stay. ‘Tonight’ is probably the most beautiful piece they’ve ever recorded, perfectly encapsulating their otherworldly brilliance.
These ruminations on love, loss, despair and violence are toweringly defiant in all their stark, minimal elegance. Gary Lightbody once astutely observed that, for love songs, he could really only trust Low, simply because Mimi and Alan are so unflinchingly honest about their own experiences.
But the truth is in the tracks and not in the living. Hear the sweet sound of a perpetual flame flickering in the dark, illuminating a world-weary yet bug-eyed sensibility, bursting with unquenchable energy despite sounding as if its creators are on their last legs.
Rating: 11 / 12
-- Eamon Sweeney
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