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by rhiannon last modified 29/01/2016 10:15 AM

Low

by rhiannon last modified 29/01/2016 10:15 AM
Low

Photograph by Alex Craven

Low are a glimmer of hope in the sunset of a dying culture. Their two decades of patiently aching songs have provided a constant reference point for integrity, meditative rage and tenderness. Song titles are brief, lyrics are sparsely elusive and profoundly allusive. Spirituality, disquiet, death, and the search for unity pour out of chord shifts, harmonies and melodies - unrecognised or not. Low are a lot more than minimalists. Their gracious performances invite deep involvement and their songs present brilliantly uncomfortable questions and precious few answers.

Tonight in Bristol their sound was deep and loud (especially in "Monkey" from The Great Destroyer). Steve Garrington's bass was almost cruel in its precision and resonance. Alan Sparhawk's guitars roared when they weren't whispering. He was in truculent communion with the universe, expressing his normal laconic wit in wordless gestures and physical moves. "For your boys in Dubai…" was his shrugged opening line, introducing the unsettling "Plastic Cup" from the new album. He is a very handsome man.

Mimi Parker sang her songs and harmonies as beautifully as only she can, repressing something that wasn't being said by giving nothing away. Sixteen songs and two encores were presented – and they were all magnificent. The Trinity audience were reverentially silent (and the last words of the last song "I Hear Goodnight" were whispered – but every bit as audible as the shrugs)

The new album "The Invisible Way" was threaded through some of the best know classics like "Canada" and "Walk Into The Sea". The new songs maintained the high quality and intensity that Low's admirers expect. Trinity's audience were spellbound throughout .

Hibronix, a project of David Blumberg, formerly of Yuck, opened the evening with three big pieces of slurred and slowed Sparklehorse-like drone , supported on two by sidemen Sparhawk and Garrington. ("my backing band", he quipped) . What a very good night it was.

Sam Saunders

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