I”m not usually into music that asks its listener to adopt a special frame of mind perhaps it has something to do with the democratic principles I”d like to think I hold dear but for Low I”m tempted to make an exception, if only because their albums are so damned beautiful in spots. The frame of mind in question is a sort of tranquility or placid dreaminess, whereby you can tolerate the fact that that Low never rev up their guitars, never pound their drums, rarely pump up the volume .
Among the highlights from Things We Lost in the Fire, the new record from these Minnesotans: The slow, harmony-laden “Medicine Magazines,” the slow, fragile “Laser Beam,” the slow, pretty “Kind of Girl” and the slow, string-inflected “Embrace.”
These four songs, and the other eight as well, prove amply that listening to a Low record any Low record is a lot like being sucked into quicksand (without the asphyxiation, of course). At first you wonder why everything”s so sparse, why things move along slower than Rudy”s chubby friend on “The Cosby Show.” Then the wispy melodies and subdued vocals start to work their magic, perhaps you become lost in the moment.
And then you wonder what”s the point. It”s good stuff, sure, for anyone who can tell a dirge from a requiem or who otherwise cares. Pavement weren”t for everyone, either, but at least you didn”t feel like you belonged to the sad-eyed, hooded-sweatshirt-wearing faction of Club Indie whenever you listened to them.
Tease out the beauty, complex mood and deep meaning inherent in these songs if you like, but don”t work too hard. After all, it”s the zone-out record of the year.