Low: “Try to Sleep”[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/8631.mp3|titles=Low: “Try to Sleep”]
After more than 15 years of stringing together grim, minimalist lullabies that are equally at home on long walks through moonless winter eves or in well-lit churches, slowcore stalwart Low has begun to experiment a bit more with the trappings of, and opportunities created by, modern music. On its ninth record, C’mon, the band blends its signature brand of melancholia with bouncing, uptempo electronic textures, giving the 11 songs a lively, volatile feel.
In the third track, “Witches,” guitarist/singer Alan Sparhawk advises listeners to confront their problems with a baseball bat, and in the same spare voice, he tells guys who “are trying to act like Al Green” that they are weak. He sings this over drummer/vocalist Mimi Parker’s characteristically haunting “ooos” and “ahhs,” while a choppy, lighthearted guitar riff drifts over barely audible acoustic-guitar (or banjo?) plucking. Much like the song “Hatchet” on the band’s previous effort, Drums and Guns, “Witches” is a catchy number that adeptly references select facets of pop-music history and, in doing so, reveals a playful side of the band.