The Invisible Way
Mar 18, 2013 Web Exclusive
Gradual change is rare for most groups, but Duluth, MN trio Low has morphed from a slowcore band into a folk-tinged rock outfit over its 20 years of existence. Like most indie bands, Low will trot out a new production style or genre experiment alongside each full-length release. Musical litmus tests will no doubt be taken on tour-and when it's time to regroup in the studio, new evolutionary traits deepen the overall Low experience. Alan Sparhawk (guitar, vocals), Mimi Parker (drums, vocals), and Steve Garrington (bass) have a subtle marvel on their hands with The Invisible Way.
The modifications for Low's 10th album are not as slender as previous efforts, though. Jeff Tweedy produced the record at Wilco's studio The Loft and lends this record much of the same vocal warmth heard on Mavis Staples' criminally underrated You Are Not Alone. Many of these characteristically melancholic tracks are led by a wraithlike piano as though the grand instrument is leading the listener towards the afterlife. Acoustic guitar accompaniment and Mimi Parker's powerful vocals grab your attention throughout. Her tone and presence are reminiscent of Aimee Mann's best material. (She sings lead on five of the 11 songs here.) The group's aesthetic is just as luxuriant as on their two Dave Fridmann-helmed LPs, Drums and Guns and The Great Destroyer. Tweedy's full-bodied production also brings to mind the band's 2011 church recording, C'mon. The Invisible Way may be a distillation of previous outings, but the new production style and emphasis on feminine vocals is a welcome change for a group that experienced some growing pains this decade. Overall, this is a fine record that continues the Low legacy. (www.chairkickers.com)
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