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Things We Lost in the Fire

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 Jan. 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rough Trade Records
  • ASIN: B000056L2J
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 82,093 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Amazon.co.uk

Quieter, slower, softer; that's the motto of Minnesota's Low. The Christmas EP, first released in 1999, saw this Mormon slowcore trio reinterpreting a number of seasonal standards and writing a few new ones in their own pared-down style; a first-time listener might assume it was the heritage of songs like "Little Drummer Boy" that lent Christmas its quiet power. They'd be wrong; Things We Lost In The Fire, Low's magnificent fifth album, is proof that while they may be shy of performing the grand gesture, a genuine sense of timelessness pervades every hushed moment. Ironically, Low's relationship with their producer--celebrated noisenik Steve Albini--has done them a lot of favours. His bare-board style lends Things We Lost In The Fire a sense of beautiful desolation, bringing the harmonies of husband-and-wife Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker to the fore on "Medicine And Magazines" and "Whore". The tunes, when they come, are breathtaking in their simplicity; take "Dinosaur Act", where a power chord clangs--and then echoes, immeasurably, over a whisper of Wurlitzer organ and the delicate tap of a snare drum. It's the perfect example of strong words softly spoken. Low may have shunned the attention-seeking clutter of the modern pop song, but the earth will do well to inherit the meek. --Louis Pattison

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 17 Feb. 2001
Format: Audio CD
Low, over their quiet career, have been gradually embracing more traditional approaches to songwriting, and this is probably their most easily digested release- minimal, sparse and lush. The harmonies of Alan and Mimi resound with an incredible amount of beauty, their simplicity adding to their (gentle) power. Anyone who has only heard 'songs for a dead pilot' or anything before that will be surprised, the shoddy term 'post-rock' can in no way describe them now. For comparisons, try Galaxie 500, Delgados, (some) Palace etc. First great lp of 2001.
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Format: Audio CD
So hard to categorise Low. I was first introduced to them through this album, and have acquired every recording since then. This album sums them up. Tender , kind and enigmatic lyrics are sung by Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker. And they are quite simply the most beautiful harmonies I have ever heard. To me they have re-defined pop music, snd everything I hear now is benchmarked against this album.
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Format: Audio CD
Things we lost in the fire, for the most part, carries the sound of a band defeated. Lyrically, Sunflower, Laser Beam and Dinosaur Act seem to question Low's place in modern society. Yet they never achieve anything more than a snail's pace, so that even minor changes of tempo, such as on Dinosaur Act, are magnified, almost akin to the work of composers such as Gorecki.
The fragility of the songs almost reaches breaking point on the tender and delicate July, a paranoia-laced lament on hibernation. Low themselves appear to be heading into hibernation, slowing, meditating, and they take their music with them.
Yet, despite it all, the album is emotionally involving, and when the end is reached, and the shaft of light that is the Eno-esque In Metal shines through, all the darkness that has gone before is banished.
Beautiful and eventually uplifting, this is an album that demands listening to.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have to confess, I'd only ever really got as far as their Christmas EP before, and so I decided it was about time I pushed the boat out and leapt forth into their extensive back catalogue. I can't remember what it was: a half-remembered good review from the magazines of the time; the evocative title; the article I read about the new album in Uncut magazine- or a combination of all things that lead me to this particular album. And what a starting point it has proved to be.

From the moment "Sunflower" kicks in you know what you're in for. It's downbeat but it's sumptuous. It's soaring and majestic. It's delicate and yet it packs a punch, and this continues throughout the album. They're something else- folky, ballsy, mellow, melancholy, tight and beautiful. This really is easily amongst some of the most impressive music I've ever heard, and there's not a bad track on it.

So why only 4 and not 5 stars? Because it's one of those ALBUM, albums. The music leaves an impression that is almost totally ephemeral, it all fits together like a jigsaw puzzle and you don't really want to listen to the tracks on their own in the main. In other words it's a contemplative and demanding listen; the 'derogatory' term would be soundtrack-music. Yes there are stand-out tracks but if you don't listen to the thing as a whole, you feel like you're not getting the whole story.

But this is a minor 'failing'. Some albums are just like that- and we're all the better for it.

Favourite tracks: "Sunflower", "Medicine Magazines", "Closer" and the strangely beautiful "Whore".

What more can I say except that you really need to go out and buy this album? If you appreciate music, you will love this album.
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By A Customer on 13 Feb. 2001
Format: Audio CD
wow, i never expected to write a review at amazon! but when i saw that only one person so far had commented on this great new album from low i was obliged to. i only have secret name and christmas, as well as a few other tunes (shame, caroline, coattails etc) as mp3. this new album is really nice; it finds low branching out into faster, louder songs(such as dinosaur act) but still keeping their wonderful intimacy. these songs also have more complex arrahngements - strings and keyboards feature on nearly all the tracks, but they dont overpower the songs. personally, i would recommend sunflower, whitetail, medicine magazines, laser beam, embrace, whore, closer and in metal....nearly all of them! the other tracks are nice too, i think ive just heard them a few too many times! this album is really nice and one i personally am going to keep as a secret that i only share with a few people because i want to feel as if they're my special band, you know? i think that's a good sign.
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Format: Audio CD
I don't know, maybe it's narrow to say that `Things We Lost In The Fire` is the murky, the arcane, backwoodsian cousin to Yo La Tengo when the latter skip noise for sweet, harmonious acoustica. Maybe, but it's a pretty good frame to reference, if only for a little while. "When they found your body/giant Xs on your eyes/with your half of the ransom/I bought some sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet sunflowers/and gave them to the night" responds the opening lyric, Parker and Sparhawks harmonising like a haunted Hubley and Kaplan. Maybe it's more upbeat than previous works but really even then it rarely rises above a hush, and `Dinosaur Act`, the most rockin' thing here, still manages to slope and saunter. The lyrics and the sometimes murky Albini mix might sound spooked and oblique but they're infused with subtle romanticism and moments of sublime beauty, "things we lost in the fire/how did we ever get by/words we'll never take back/hold me closer than that".
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