Low – The Invisible Way

I have always been a massive fan of both Low and Wilco so you can imagine my excitement when I heard that Jeff Tweedy was on production duties for ‘The Invisible Way’ Low’s 10th studio album and upon hearing it I can assure you it’s a perfect match. Tweedy has, by keeping the band minimalistic, helped them make perhaps their finest work to date, a subtle and moving record that takes everything you loved about Low and turns it into something darkly beautiful. Piano dominates most of the eleven songs here as do Mimi Parker’s vocals and pushing her to the forefront is a stroke of musical genius, the frailty of her voice giving real gravitas to the songs themes. Opening track ‘Plastic Cup’ tells the story of how a cup used to collect samples to test for drug taking is uncovered many years in the future and revered as a kind of Holy Grail. ‘Just Make It Stop’ is stunning despite its subject matter ‘you see I’m close to the edge, I’m at the end of my rope, the rope is starting to thread, I’m trying to keep my hold’ confesses Mimi before pleading ‘If I could just make it stop’. Elsewhere acoustic guitars hide out in amongst the harmonies, shuffles and handclaps and when Mimi isn’t taking lead vocal she compliments Alan perfectly. Of course this being Low and Jeff there is still some experimentation to be had, the belting keys and fuzzed up guitars in ‘On My Own’ with its ‘Happy Birthday’ refrain for example. But for me the stand out track has to be ‘Clarence White’ a lament to the awesome beauty and destructive power of nature, gospel tinged it rumbles along at a faultless pace as Alan sings ‘You think it’s pretty, but I am a raging river, I’ll cut through your city, just like destroying angels’ for something so stripped back it has real power. And that is what makes these eleven compositions so special, laid bare and raw; you can see just how good a band Low are. Celebrating their 20th anniversary with Tweedy at the helm was definitely the right thing to do and as you will hear the results speak for themselves.

low

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