LOW play the Great Hall Saturday (March 16). See listing. Rating: NNNN
In their 20 years as a band, Low have covered a lot of stylistic ground within self-imposed constraints. They've experimented with electronic textures and layers of distortion and reverb while mostly sticking to the same formula: a glacial pace, stark, heavy lyrics and a keen sense of melody that finds beauty in economy.
For their 10th album, they hooked up with producer Jeff Tweedy (best known as the frontman of Wilco), who takes them back to the basics while also finding new facets to explore. Pianos play a bigger role, but the most obvious (and overdue) change is the increased presence of drummer Mimi Parker, who goes beyond singing harmony with her husband, Alan Sparhawk, to take the lead on five songs.
That's still less than half the album, but her songs, like the uncharacteristically jaunty, slowly swelling Just Make It Stop, are the highlights.
Top track: Just Make It Stop