Album review: Low’s ‘C’mon’

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Indie-rock scenesters have made a big deal of the fact that this long-running Minnesota trio recorded its latest album with Matt Beckley, an L.A.-based studio pro who’s worked on records by Paris Hilton and Clay Aiken. But Low has pursued its sound so single-mindedly over the last two decades that it’s hard to imagine any new collaborator nudging the band off-course. Beckley certainly doesn’t on “C’mon,” which once again showcases guitarist Alan Sparhawk and drummer Mimi Parker’s ghostly vocal harmonies and their steadfast dedication to measured tempos. (Along with Codeine and Red House Painters, Low is often credited with creating the indie subgenre known as “slowcore.”)

Indeed, Low seems especially determined to maintain its identity here, as if to prove that landing a pair of songs on Robert Plant’s 2010 album “Band of Joy” hadn’t infected the group with some dreaded hit-seeking virus. The result is typically lovely; “Witches” even offers a welcome flash of humor, with Sparhawk directing a mysterious dis toward “all you guys out there trying to act like Al Green.” (Hear that, Aiken?) But Sparhawk and Parker have written songs more memorable than the 10 collected on “C’mon.” Maybe Beckley should’ve cracked the studio-pro whip.


-- Mikael Wood

(Sub Pop)
Two and a half stars