In the world of music today, hyperactive artists overstuff their songs with samples, genres, and orchestration in an attempt to emerge from the din; unified, minimalist albums are therefore well-appreciated. Rare is the band that maintains a mood throughout a record using only basic rock instrumentation (and a few added touches), but Low has mastered the art. With tempos comparable to the pace of continental drift and guitar figures that sway above implacable drums, their new album C’mon generates a gently euphoric haze.
There is a quiet sort of majesty about the album, the kind that might have occurred had Moses presented the Commandments written on silk instead of stone and proclaimed them in a whisper rather than a shout. “Majesty/Magic” especially embodies this mood as it inexorably grows into its distorted climax, then fades away. Elsewhere, it is difficult to discern whether songs are resigned or hopeful, as they all induce the same soft haze. This homogeneity seems as though it would be boring, but the comfort of the prevailing mood is instead refreshing. Despite this unity, there is subtle variety. Inklings of country appear in the steel guitar and relaxed harmonies of “Done” and the excellent closer “Nothing but Heart,” which grows into an uplifting guitar solo. “$20” is a hushed folk song, while “You See Everything” contains jangly guitars and sugary vocals. But this is an album best experienced as a whole. It contains the mesmerizing power to lull and exhilarate at the same time, an odd sensation that is wholeheartedly welcome.
Yay pretentious metaphors. It’s fun to re-read these.