Quick Review (LP): C’mon by Low

Sub Pop; 2011

My Rating: C (51/100)

Best Tracks: "Try to Sleep", "Witches", "Nightingale", "Something’s Turning Over"

Sounds like chicken, tastes like Low.

– With Low, you’re never really sure whether they are making a grand statement or just doing what they do best.
– "Majesty/Magic" is the type of track that would really benefit from some new instrumentation. I feel like the band isn’t really pushing themselves to try something new.
– "Witches" is cool – sounds like it means business – and nice banjo.
– Love the eerie vibe on "Nightingale."
– "Something’s Turning Over" is a nifty new approach for the band.
– Low’s greatest strength threatens, of course, to become their greatest weakness. They come perilously close to creative monotony on this record, with many of their huge, brassy slo-core composition threatening to thud redundantly. Low, perhaps, needs a revolution in sound, or at least a new lease on songwriting.
– From the way this Pitchfork review reads, I think Low albums need to be approached in the same way as a fine wines. You have to be ready and willing to detect the subtle notes. But I’m wondering if it’s really time for Low to branch out? The last paragraph sums up how I view the record, but with this many albums in, I’m starting to wonder if the band’s innovative shelf life has expired.

Cohesion (4/5)
Concept (3/5)
Consequence (3.5/5)
Consistency (4/5)
Songs (3.5/5)

Quick Review (LP): Smart Flesh by The Low Anthem

The Low Anthem
Smart Flesh
Nonesuch; 2011

My Rating: C (51/100)

Best Tracks: "Ghost Woman Blues", "Love & Altar", "Golden Cattle"

Brace for sleep…

– I love this band’s sound. It’s like the perfect combination of Low’s dark trance-rock and Hem’s chamber americana.
– "Boeing 737" is mighty, but its trajectory is all ahead. I guess I would have preferred they throttle back on it at some point.
– Dig the opener. The clarinet was tragically under-used for 50 years of rock and roll.
– In general, they can’t go wrong with slow songs, mandolin, sustained piano, and clarinet, but even a few of those are a little too sleepy.
– Religious themes going on with some of the song titles. I suspect this album is heavy on the lyrical content, but it’s darn hard to access.
– I dig "Wire" in and of itself, but I question it’s setting in the middle of the record, after "Matter of Time" and before "Burn." The record really starts to drag in the middle.
Ian Cohen of Pitchfork does a great job of summing up what’s wrong with this record. BTW, it pains me to use the word "wrong," because I really want to like this record.
– Overall, it lacks in the songwriting department, and certainly isn’t brilliant like OMGCD. Check out the tracks I mention. The rest can be left behind.

Cohesion (5/5)
Concept (5/5)
Consistency (3/5)
Consequence (4/5)
Songs (3/5)