Edinburgh Liquid Rooms
It's easy to grumble when confronted with such painstaking concentration. ..More on
It's easy to grumble when confronted with such painstaking concentration. Rock'n'roll, after all, isn't about prudence; it's about the triumph of the primal over the cerebral and sane. But then Low, bless their creased brows, don't purport to rock. For Alan, Mimi and Zack, patron saints of all that is sad-core and slo-fi, proffer an alternative route to conventional rock redemption, a delicate path that delivers far more substantial rewards.
Ideally, Low should be unravelling their velveteen delights in a more fitting setting: the Vatican library, say, or better still some audience-proof, hermetically-sealed tabernacle. Instead, a constant succession of creaking toilet doors and explosive sneezes threatens to spoil tonight's rarefied atmosphere. Yet, despite such mundane interruptions, it remains virtually impossible to avert attention from the stage, such is the whispering majesty of this none-more-slow threesome.
Although Low's strength lies in their ability to distil what sounds like centuries of pain into every five-minute gasp of sadness, there is, crucially, an intangible warmth to be eked out of even their most discomfiting moments. Thus 'Long Way Around The Sea'
(from the magnificent 'Christmas') avoids the po-faced pitfalls of other religion-based paeans and instead rejoices in its folksome sincerity,
as percussionist Mimi Parker's sumptuous voice cradles each note like a cashmere shawl.
For Low, every chord is sacred; every carefully considered quaver held in hushed reverence. So even when the aptly titled 'In Metal' briefly gets all Mogwai on our asses - white-hot guitars duelling, slowly, like angry triceratops - Low still hold back, preferring to head indulgence off at the pass before retreating back to their cosy armchairs. It may bear little relation to rock as we know it, but by refusing to succumb to traditional temptations, Low are, in their own quiet way, subverting every law
in the book. And, really, how rock'n'roll is that?
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