Drums and Guns
In the world of slowcore, Low has almost always taken the approach of emphasizing beauty over bleak, melody over dissonance and the idea that music should be satisfying. But that all changed a few years ago with The Great Destroyer, which was a dramatic shift away from the tranquil land of Codeine and Bedhead to the murkier, uncertain waters of June of 1944. The evolution continues with Drums and Guns, an album that finds Low experimenting more with synthesizers, drum machines, other percussive elements, unconventional song structures and with deeper and darker subject matter. Take the opening lines: “All the soldiers they are all going to die, all little babies they are all going to die.” It’s frightening and powerful, immediately setting the tone of an album that explores personal conflict, war, vulnerability and destruction. Over the last decade, a band trademark has been the voices of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker combining to create wonderful harmonies. d That has not changed. Songs like “Dragonfly” and “Your Poison” work best because the vocals take this music to another level. Their fluid interwoven vocal lines act like a protective cocoon against a storm brewing. It’s an album that should not be easy to enjoy on first or second listen. For a band to start taking these risks this far into its career is truly admirable.