Sub Pop’s Low aims high with ‘The Invisible Way’
Low, ‘The Invisible Way’ (Sub Pop)
Few bands know the power of silence like veteran indie-rock deconstructionists Low.
The Minnesotans’ spacious, slow-burning sound — ringing chords, pronounced drum hits, haunting harmonies — rewards those who listen closely, its minimalism summoning deep emotions.
“The Invisible Way” is Low’s fourth Sub Pop LP and 10th overall. Held up against past work like 1996’s cerebral “Curtain Hits the Cast” and 2001’s bewitching “Things We Lost in the Fire,” “Invisible” is solid, if imperfect.
The influence of producer Jeff Tweedy, of Wilco, is all over these 11 countrified, piano-driven songs, which go down easy but blur together.
Still, an average Low album runs circles around most bands’ best. The vocal interplay between married core duo Mimi Parker (drums) and Alan Sparhawk (guitar) remains striking, her midrange tremble the hopeful yin to his elegiac yang.
Lyrically heavy but sonically bright, Parker’s “Just Make it Stop” recalls Yo La Tengo, another husband-and-wife indie-career band.
Elsewhere, Sparhawk’s cutting distortion in “On My Own” reaffirms that for all its levelheaded calm, Low can still rock out with the best of them.
Other new releases
Justin Timberlake, “The 20/20 Experience” (RCA)
Billy Bragg, “Tooth and Nail” (Essential Music)
Kacey Musgraves, “Same Trailer Different Park” (Mercury Nashville)
NOTE: Low performs at the Crocodile April 6; Billy Bragg plays the Neptune Theatre April 3.
Charlie Zaillian, Special to The Seattle Times