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Editorial Review

Album review: "C'Mon"

After outgrowing its early career “slowcore” label, Low shifted to a noisier and sometimes faster approach on its two previous albums, “The Great Destroyer” and “Drums and Guns.” The title of its latest release, “C’mon,” might suggest that the long-subdued Duluth, Minn., trio is actually in a casual, jaunty mood.

The opening lullaby, “Try to Sleep,” quickly dispels that impression: “You try to sleep / Then you never wake up,” guitarist Alan Sparhawk and drummer Mimi Parker coo ominously.

Add such troubling childhood memories as the night torments of “Witches,” and the atmosphere on “C’mon” is often clouded. While it’s not Low’s most musically austere album, it does mark a slight return to the deliberate, mostly hushed mode of the group’s past.

Several songs feature frank dialogue between Sparhawk and Parker, the band’s husband-and-wife founders, about the strains of a long-term relationship. The album also dabbles in country (“Done”) and folk (“Something’s Turning Over”).

While the band’s basic style remains stark, frosty indie-rock, it’s a surprise to learn that “C’mon’’ was co-produced by Matt Beckley, who has worked with the likes of pop stars Katy Perry and Ke$ha. He may be responsible for the layered vocal harmonies and chiming timbres that make Low’s music feel just a little warmer this time around.

--Mark Jenkins, April 22, 2011