Low – Double Negative

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One of the strongest albums of 2018 – a beautiful/ugly musical evocation of our dislocated times.

The opening ‘vinyl’ static and scratch in Quorum of a stuck-in-a-groove sound signals more than the sibilance of this sentence. It is the noise that will battle the trio’s usual sweet harmonies throughout this pulsating album, the sound augmented by a deepened volume and its insistence on so many tracks. It is a triumph of such a combination, fully realised in the beautiful-ugly track Always Trying to Work it Out where the sweet drone and pulse is perfected into a loop of gorgeous harmony and fading inandout distortion.

In a world thrown totally awry by the politics of madness, there is something metaphorically sustaining in how Low retain their core beauty within the onslaught of the penetrating and perpetrating noise. Such sound is always percolating around and within, an ambience that unsettles until a snatch or layered or even more permanent melodicism asserts itself. Tracks like The Son, The Son is a re-invention of Thus Spoke Zarathustra launching the potted history of man’s inhumanity in A Space Odyssey, followed by the sweetly strummed guitar and peacefulness of Dancing and Fire – these poles of a world in conflict with itself, Mimi Parker in angelic vocal even as the song inevitably gets more heated.

A stunning, significant sound for our times.

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