Low: C'mon

B

Low

Album: C'mon
Label: Sub Pop

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Low can’t decide whether to stay in its comfort zone or sneak out of it on C’mon. Not as stylistically risky as 2007’s Drums And Guns, C’mon goes through the paces of Low’s familiar sound on songs like “Especially Me,” which waltzes along on Mimi Parker’s characteristically anxious vocal, and “$20,” a pretty ballad that feels like a lost memory made concrete by Parker and Alan Sparhawk’s spare harmonies. Some of the more conventional, genial numbers (“Try To Sleep,” “Done,” “You See Everything”) don’t build to the climaxes of old; rather, they stand in place and smile politely. Fortunately, Sparhawk gets a little rude on “Witches,” a misty hard-rock threat that lands between the sound of 2005’s The Great Destroyer and Sparhawk’s muscular rock trio Retribution Gospel Choir as it calls out “all you guys out there tryin’ to act like Al Green.” “Majesty/Magic” also presses turbulent guitar work to the front while opening subtle corridors of space in the back. One of C’mon’s best tracks, “Nothing But Heart,” is also the simplest, dwelling on the same phrase for eight minutes. It rivals Destroyer's “When I Go Deaf” for balancing gentle pacing with distorted grandeur. C’mon is an uneven record, but for every song that doesn’t hit the mark, there’s another that exhibits the band’s mastery of patient eruptions.

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