Low - review of Trust
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Low, Trust [Rough Trade]

from The Independent Review, 20 September 2002

Their sixth album finds minimalist alt.rock trio Low's approach largely unchanged, save for the increasing assurance with which they apply their funereal tempi and gossamer harmonies. As with last year's Things We Lost in the Fire, Trust's 13 songs seem pregnant with piety, their church-like solemnity often conveying a sinister shadow, as in the Jesus depicted in "The Lamb": "I am the lamb/ And I'm a dead man". Some tracks seem to teeter on the cusp of dissolution, as beautiful as snowflakes; others, such as "Canada" and "Time Is The Diamond", temper a bluesy trudge with a lighter, sweeter vocal, eliciting a piquant contrast quite unique in modern pop. Lyrically, too, their songs can be deceptively prickly, with lines like "There's nothing as sad as a man on his back counting stars" lending a bitter tinge to even their softest settings. In Tchad Blake, Low have found their perfect production collaborator, an engineer/mixer with a peculiar sensitivity to the subtlest of sonic touches, and the imagination to complement their fragile sound with unusual touches, without compromising the atmosphere. I don't know if it was Blake's idea to include the passage of what sounds like running water and running feet alongside the slowly tolling drum and lone guitar chord of "Candy Girl", but it works perfectly to create an enigmatic presence – almost as enigmatic as the trombonist Bryan Johnson's credit for "shirt" on one track. A sweetly sombre delight.

-- Andy Gill


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