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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Low - Scale the heights, 11 April 2011
By 
Red on Black - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: C'mon (Audio CD)
There is something very odd and perplexing about playing Yuletide albums all year round or on hot sunny days (e.g. - yesterday) but the great "Christmas" album by "Low" the Minnesotan slowcore masters repays regular listens and its fine quality partly reminds you of some of the themes of their new album "C'mon". In essence Low are a band who more than anything else produce the most gorgeous songs. "C'mon" was recorded at an old church in Duluth and is their ninth album in a very long career. It comes on top of this decades renaissance man Robert Plant showcasing two sparkling Low covers on his recent Band of Joy LP (Monkey and Silver Rider) and in doing so generating welcome interest in this critically lauded trio. Who cares if this album doesn't end up on sale in your local supermarket or deliver gold records for the trophy cabinet, what Low do is grace music lovers with the priceless service of producing music you can revere, which can soundtrack your variable life episodes and that can genuinely leave you wanting more.

On this album they have called in Nels Cline the innovative guitarist from Wilco to play on a couple of tracks including "Done" which you suspect may turn out to be one of their greatest songs with its almost 50s classic ballad feel and infused throughout by the trademark heart stopping dual vocals from Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker (it goes without saying that bassist Steve Garrington is as sure footed as ever). The album opens with the shimmering "Try to sleep" and you notice immediately the crisp production which enhances all these songs for which we must to thank Matt Beckley, a man best known for his work with the likes of Leona Lewis and Avril Lavigne (he should now be forgiven). On "Witches" there is more of the dark old Low of previous albums like the "Great Destroyer" and it combines a haunting lyric with a huge guitar backdrop. Coming hot the heals is the brooding "Especially Me" beautifully sung by Parker which also makes you wish the late great Dusty Springfield was alive to give it a turn with her trademark smokey vocals. One of the albums highlights is "$20" which has a sparse hymn like quality as Sparhawk repeatedly intones "that my love is for free" over a slower than slow reverb heavy guitar; alternatively "Nothing but heart" starts with a wall of Neil Young "Weld" era feedback which again shifts into a very low gear but slowly burns to a huge monster ballad over its eight minute plus length. Its climax is as hypnotic and dramatic as anything Low has previously produced and shows a band on top of its game. While there is nothing that can quite top this moment another song well worth a mention in dispatches is the gossamer light "Nightingale" which sounds like Beach House with electric guitars.

This band have travelled a long journey since the narcotic rock of their debut 1994s "I could live in hope" but its been one where the of musical trajectory has rarely pointed in any other direction than skyward. In the past two weeks this album has been streaming in full on the NPR website and your reviewers hit rate has been higher than a Mike Tyson fight. With well over 20 years in the business we have no right to expect an album as good as "C'mon". It is a hugely accessible and scarily assured recording which any self-respecting music lover should hunt down with the right level of understated fervour.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Both Majesty and Magic Therein..., 6 May 2011
By 
Stagger Lee (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: C'mon (Audio CD)
It is fair to admit that this album was a slow-burning fascination for me. At first and second listens, it did not grab my attention in the way that other records this year have done so. It simply slipped through my consciousness without leaving any discernible trace.

And yet, on third, fourth and fifth listen, this album opens up like a tumescent flower in bloom, leaving the listener in no doubt as to its true majesty. Low have certainly pioneered a unique musical brand in the past but here they refine it to dazzling effect. Try to Sleep is a delicate foray into low-fi indie splendour whilst You See Everything retains the attention through an infectious refrain which haunts the listener. Witches is more bellicose (but only relative to other songs on this album) and reminds the listener of Spiritualised at their most stripped back. Especially Me benefits from arch lyrics which prove impossibly moving and self-deprecating ('But as it stands, We don't have a clue, Especially me and probably you') whilst Nightingale reverts to the light touch motifs of the album opener. The real creative peak of this spell-binding masterpiece though is Nothing But Heart, a kind of Folk/Drone opus, which builds gravitas and momentum from glacially minimalist beginnings. The finishing crescendo of harmonies and heart-rending vocals will not fail to move the listener.

One of the most remarkable things about this album though is the subtle contrast in mood and atmosphere that the band conjure up through both instrument, lyric and vocal tack. You are never quite sure if this is an album of hope, despair, love or hate. It consistently challenges the listener to reflect and re-assess. If anything sums up this ambiguity (and potential menace), it is the chorus of the album closer, 'Something's turning over, You better get out while you can (repeat), Get out while you're young'. Get out of what? What awaits us? Or is this arch irony from one of the coolest bands around?

Either way, from humble beginnings, this musical masterwork has manouevred itself into a niche within my brain and it shows no signs of going anywhere. Highly, highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Low- C'mon, 6 May 2012
This review is from: C'mon (Audio CD)
Another great album from Low. Saw them live in Birmingham and then bought this album on strength of the performance. The songs and performances are great. Favourite track - Nothing but Heart - makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Probably one of their best albums, along with The Great Destroyer and Things we Lost in the Fire. Guns and Drums is pretty good too!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sumptuous slowcore, 1 April 2012
By 
M. Lee "Muzmarinator" (Sydney) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: C'mon (Audio CD)
Somehow Low almost passed me by. Dazzled by my love for contemporaries Galaxy 500 I never thought I needed Low. How wrong was I? This record just gets better with each spin, and I've spun it a lot. There are some fine and quirky lyrics too ( witches, especially me) but some of the best tracks just repeat a line and build (majesty, nothing but heart). If you like guitars, harmonies, and literate songwriting, look no further. Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 6 Nov 2011
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This review is from: C'mon (Audio CD)
Others will review this in greater depth, but anyone remotely interested in good music should own this. Stunningly beautiful, very haunting, incredibly moving this is a slow burning masterpiece. Let this wash over you and be immersed in sublime melodies and restrained playing that just lets the songs shine.

Easily the best album of 2011.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leicester Bangs Review (2011):, 11 April 2011
By 
Leicester Bangs "words-R-us" (Leicester, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: C'mon (Audio CD)
Low - C'Mon (Sub Pop)
It's difficult to grasp that Low have been around for almost twenty years. Originally pioneers of the slowcore movement, they changed tack slightly with 2002's "Trust" album, developing a more forceful sound, which appears to have found its natural conclusion on their ninth album, "C'Mon".

It's a truly impressive collection - Alan Sparhawk's controlled guitar distortion and measured voice combine intimately with wife Mimi Parker's backing vocals, while other instruments add detail. On the first track "Try To Sleep" a xylophone gently rains notes over the soporific strains and on "Witches" an elegant lap steel guitar and strangely askew, almost menacing banjo entwine themselves. Parker takes the vocal lead on "Especially Me" and it's a particularly moving piece.

Together with references to shadows and partial awareness, there's an underlying peril present within many of the lyrics, which brings a certain tension. It might just be a feeling, but it does imply there's something being played out on "C'Mon" which isn't instantly fathomable. 9/10.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe the best one from them?, 22 Aug 2011
This review is from: C'mon (Audio CD)
I won't add anything extra as the other reviews say plenty.

I think this and things we lost in the fire is as good as C'mon, and I thought things we lost in the fire was untouchable!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Yes........"C'mon!, 29 May 2013
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This review is from: C'mon (Audio CD)
I was put off this band for ages because of the use of the word "minimal"! I WAS WRONG. SUPERB.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars beautiful songs, 18 April 2011
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This review is from: C'mon (Audio CD)
Beautiful, beautiful sounds. LOW are one of those special bands which can make sounds which really take you away into a different world. Their vocal harmonies are in a class of their own, but there is somehing about the tempo of the songs that just makes my whole being just slow down and take a 30 minute break from 'reality'. I wish I could write songs like this :-( , I love the way they just seem to be able to use their guitars to create the perfect mood whether that means realy sparse melodic lines or full distorted dissonance.....the banjo playing on track three is really cool, It only gets four stars because...I could live in hope..is just one of the most haunting recordings of all time and this, although great and growing with every listen, does not not make me shiver in the same wayI Could Live In Hope.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars another masterpiece, 18 April 2011
This review is from: C'mon (Audio CD)
oh, they've only gone & done it again.... made a bloomin' masterpiece that's what. I've only just finished my first listen to this one, but dare I say it might just rank up there with The Great Destroyer..? If you like Low, you'll love this.... if you don't, are you mad?
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