Friday, January 19, 2007

Low, "Drums and Guns"

First of all, it's a crap title (Meatloaf's "sex and drums and rock n roll" line, anyone?).

Second, it seems we have another mixing/mastering controversy on our hands, as rumours swirl as to whether or not the iffy mix currently making the rounds (in which nearly all vocals appear in one channel) is the final version or not. A lot of people complained about the fuzzy mastering of "The Great Destroyer", but I had it on vinyl and heard nothing wrong with it, so I'll let the CD owners argue about that ... the stereo separation on "Drums and Guns" is very difficult to ignore, and I sway between annoyance and obliviousness depending on the day.

Third, "Violent Past" is an ear-bleeding masterpiece -- one of the best five or six songs they've ever recorded.

Overall, this album sounds too much like a band trying to distance themselves from every inch of how they sounded up to "Things We Lost in the Fire", and not enough like a band writing the great songs they're capable of. They're pushing this sonic departure down our throats -- I believe it's no coincidence that the most "90's Low"-ish track is only one minute long, cutting itself off just as it begins blossoming into something memorable. The ongoing guns + violence theme wears thin once you get past the best three or four songs on here, and although some tracks have really grown on me (especially "In Silence" and "Dragonfly"), I think "Drums and Guns" is a curio at worst (hey! watch them use drum machines and beats and shit!) and a creative mis-step at best.

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