Music: C'Mon by Low ****
These Minnesotans were pioneers of the so-called 'slowcore' movement -- a glacially slow brand of indie -- but Alan Sparhawk and his wife Mimi Parker have moved way beyond this tag over successive albums. This, their ninth, is among the most satisfying of their career -- a hugely varied collection that veers from hazy, dream pop to the louder, urgent guitar rock of Sparhawk's side project, Retribution Gospel Choir.
The album's uniting factor is the quality of the songcraft. Consider opening tracks Try to Sleep and You See Everything. The former is a gorgeously languid composition replete with softly sung vocals from Sparhawk; the latter an unadulterated exercise in breezy pop with Parker's crystal-clear singing to the fore.
Then, there's the fragile Done -- a beguiling number featuring the delicate pedal steel guitar of Wilco's Nels Cline. Sparhawk's words gently urge the listener to make the best of their lot -- in its own quietly understated way, its message is stronger than any number of bombastic, sloganeering anthems.
But the pair are happy to rock out when they want to, as is the case on the eight-minute Nothing But Heart, and their shared vocals help make Majesty/Magic hypnotic and intoxicating as it builds from a few sketchy sounds into a full-on sonic assault.
Burn it: Try to Sleep; You See Everything; Done
Day & Night