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Low|HEY WHAT

HEY WHAT

Low

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There has never been a better metaphor for Low's music than the way singer/co-founder/guitarist Alan Sparhawk recently defined distortion: "sending too much signal into something and then seeing what it does with it. Circuits, when [they] sense too much information, they start shaping the sound and kind of crushing down, that's what distortion is." On the Minnesota band's 13th album, the prevalent distortion sometimes feels less about listening to music and more like an out-of-body experience. (Don't be alarmed: Your speakers are not fuzzing out.) It's there in the glitchy pulse and churning storm of "I Can Wait," and in the vertigo-inducing feedback loop of "Hey." But it's also tempered with that most magical element of Low: the harmonies between Sparhawk and his longtime partner in music and life, Mimi Parker. They're up there with Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons or Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. On "All Night," the music is warped as if melted in the sun but the harmonies remain as ethereal as ever. The couple pull off a terrific trick during the stark grandeur of opener "White Horses," where Sparhwak starts a line, Parker joins in, then he drops out while she sustains. It's spine-chillingly beautiful, even as the background ticking intensifies—like in a movie before a bomb goes off—for a minute and a half. (For the first few songs, such noises bleed from one song to the next, almost like it's one continuous thought.) Low's lyrics can sometimes be obtuse, but dreamy "Don't Walk Away" is so intimate it's almost unbearable. Sparhawk starts off like a '50s crooner (the Platters come to mind), then Parker prettily joins in: "I have slept beside you now/ For what seems a thousand years … Don't walk away/ I can not take any more/ Won this game/ I can not play any more." All the while, there's an indeterminable background whisper, like midnight pillow talk. (Take that song with the lyrics of "White Horses"—"The consequences of leaving/ Would be more cold if I should stay/ Though it's impossible to say, I know/ Still, white horses take us home"—and a story starts to come into focus.) The couple also each have stunning solo turns. "More" comes on in a fury, and Parker stands determined and femme in the face of fearsome guitar storm: "I gave more than what I should've lost/ I paid more than what it would've cost … la la la la ..." Meanwhile, Sparhawk's voice shoots like a beacon of light, so clear and unclouded, on "Days Like These," before the super-cloudy fuzz kicks in; the result is like some gorgeous, twisted hymn. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz

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HEY WHAT

Low

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1
White Horses
00:05:03

Alan Sparhawk, Composer, Lyricist - Low, MainArtist - BJ Burton, Producer, Mixer

© 2021 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2021 Sub Pop Records

2
I Can Wait
00:04:02

Alan Sparhawk, Composer, Lyricist - Low, MainArtist - BJ Burton, Producer, Mixer

© 2021 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2021 Sub Pop Records

3
All Night
00:05:14

Alan Sparhawk, Composer, Lyricist - Low, MainArtist - BJ Burton, Producer, Mixer

© 2021 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2021 Sub Pop Records

4
Disappearing
00:03:32

Alan Sparhawk, Composer, Lyricist - Low, MainArtist - BJ Burton, Producer, Mixer

© 2021 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2021 Sub Pop Records

5
Hey
00:07:41

Alan Sparhawk, Composer, Lyricist - Low, MainArtist - MIMI PARKER, Composer - BJ Burton, Producer, Mixer

© 2021 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2021 Sub Pop Records

6
Days Like These
00:05:20

Alan Sparhawk, Composer, Lyricist - Low, MainArtist - BJ Burton, Producer, Mixer

© 2021 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2021 Sub Pop Records

7
There's a Comma After Still
00:01:51

Alan Sparhawk, Composer - Low, MainArtist - MIMI PARKER, Composer, Lyricist - BJ Burton, Composer, Producer, Mixer

© 2021 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2021 Sub Pop Records

8
Don't Walk Away
00:04:07

Alan Sparhawk, Composer, Lyricist - Low, MainArtist - BJ Burton, Producer, Mixer

© 2021 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2021 Sub Pop Records

9
More
00:02:10

Alan Sparhawk, Composer, Lyricist - Low, MainArtist - MIMI PARKER, Composer - BJ Burton, Producer, Mixer

© 2021 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2021 Sub Pop Records

10
The Price You Pay (It Must Be Wearing Off)
00:07:08

Alan Sparhawk, Composer, Lyricist - Low, MainArtist - BJ Burton, Producer, Mixer

© 2021 Sub Pop Records ℗ 2021 Sub Pop Records

Album Description

There has never been a better metaphor for Low's music than the way singer/co-founder/guitarist Alan Sparhawk recently defined distortion: "sending too much signal into something and then seeing what it does with it. Circuits, when [they] sense too much information, they start shaping the sound and kind of crushing down, that's what distortion is." On the Minnesota band's 13th album, the prevalent distortion sometimes feels less about listening to music and more like an out-of-body experience. (Don't be alarmed: Your speakers are not fuzzing out.) It's there in the glitchy pulse and churning storm of "I Can Wait," and in the vertigo-inducing feedback loop of "Hey." But it's also tempered with that most magical element of Low: the harmonies between Sparhawk and his longtime partner in music and life, Mimi Parker. They're up there with Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons or Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. On "All Night," the music is warped as if melted in the sun but the harmonies remain as ethereal as ever. The couple pull off a terrific trick during the stark grandeur of opener "White Horses," where Sparhwak starts a line, Parker joins in, then he drops out while she sustains. It's spine-chillingly beautiful, even as the background ticking intensifies—like in a movie before a bomb goes off—for a minute and a half. (For the first few songs, such noises bleed from one song to the next, almost like it's one continuous thought.) Low's lyrics can sometimes be obtuse, but dreamy "Don't Walk Away" is so intimate it's almost unbearable. Sparhawk starts off like a '50s crooner (the Platters come to mind), then Parker prettily joins in: "I have slept beside you now/ For what seems a thousand years … Don't walk away/ I can not take any more/ Won this game/ I can not play any more." All the while, there's an indeterminable background whisper, like midnight pillow talk. (Take that song with the lyrics of "White Horses"—"The consequences of leaving/ Would be more cold if I should stay/ Though it's impossible to say, I know/ Still, white horses take us home"—and a story starts to come into focus.) The couple also each have stunning solo turns. "More" comes on in a fury, and Parker stands determined and femme in the face of fearsome guitar storm: "I gave more than what I should've lost/ I paid more than what it would've cost … la la la la ..." Meanwhile, Sparhawk's voice shoots like a beacon of light, so clear and unclouded, on "Days Like These," before the super-cloudy fuzz kicks in; the result is like some gorgeous, twisted hymn. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz

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