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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Low - C'mon: A-

Ladies and gentlemen, this is how you do complacent. For nearly twenty years, Minnesota’s Low have been making quietly compelling albums, and their newest, C’mon, is no different. It’s forty five minutes of soft rock with a sinister edge, perfect for easy listening, but also fantastic upon closer inspection. The album features some excellent voices, Alan Sparhawk sounding like a weathered Justin Harris (of Menomena) on songs like “Nothing But Heart” and “Try to Sleep” and Mimi Parker poised but cunning in “You See Everything” and “Especially Me”.

C’mon’s arrangements blend well but are shockingly minimal. The vocal presence of “20$” is just Sparhawk repeating “My love is for free,” and “Nothing But Heart” is the same for the song’s title. The singing in “Majesty/Magic”’s is literally the interchanging of the title’s first word for its second, with only a cry of “Oh” added. It’s plain, but I’m mesmerized by all of it. The group drops some vaguely pessimistic lines like “As it stands we don’t have a clue / Especially me and probably you,” and “All you guys out there gonna wish you were Al Green,” that earn their “slowcore” label, but it’s all in good fun. “Just because you never hear their voices,” Sparhawk and Parker harmonize on C’mon’s final track. “Doesn’t mean they wont kill you in your sleep.” With that, the track floats along a chorus of “la la la”’s. You want to hear something pleasant but complex? You could do far worse.


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