The High & Low of It: Low – “The Invisible Way”

If you’re a minimalist with an appreciation for simplistic melodies and serene vocals, The Invisible Way by Low fits all your requirements. Hailing from Duluth, Minnesota, their sounds have traveled far and wide to be able to cover the likes of me, a simple gal from the eastern side of Pennsylvania. Now one thing to remember is Low is not a new comer to the music world. Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker got their start in 1993. They live up to their name, providing the world with slow tempos and a great use of music that makes you actually pay attention to the lyrics they sing.

Things about The Invisible Way that struck me upon listening is the smooth use of guitars and the way Alan and Mimi harmonize. Not only do they have a great sound, but the emotion they propel through the wavelengths can seize your attention; bringing into mind every single feeling you’ve been unwillingly repressing. It’s what I find fascinating in Mimi’s vocals. She has a raw nature that most females in some duos tend to hinder. In the track Holy Ghost there are no gimmicks, there is no overly played instruments and suddenly the only thing you can pay attention is her energy, flowing freely. It’s refreshing for Parker to get tracks all to herself, instead of just singing the melody behind Sparhawk.

I admire Low’s use of piano chords. They way they mix so well with the riffs of their bass guitar. Steve Garrington, bassist, does a great job in keeping the tracks minimal yet enticing. It’s admirable how they can successfully use keys in a minor and not have it sound like something out of Frankenstein. The risk that runs throughout this album is the consistent sound in all eleven tracks; one can mistake track two for track nine. It can all sound the same without any variations in their style. To others, that can be a good thing, but personally I find that it might diminish the quality of the work. But that is what makes Low timeless, after twenty years in the business they have made their mark. They’ve stayed true to who they are, even after often being classified as “slowcore” (a term I just dislike). I find them to be relaxing, not boring. Sometimes you just need music that can provide repose. The Invisible Way is an album I’d enjoy over coffee. Or while writing. Or while taking a bath. It’s just a relaxing kind of album. That you can just zone out to and not find distractions in the music you are enjoying. There is nothing glittery or over-stimulating about Low.

Besides The Invisible Way, Low has an amazing cover of Rihanna’s Stay, available on iTunes. I tend to dislike covers at times. Just not a fan, personally. But their cover of Stay is actually quite beautiful. Unrelated to their album, Low can actually mold their style into the likes of Rihanna. They have that zest in their abilities as musicians to make a “cover skeptic” like myself enjoy something not their own. For the future I’d like Low to attempt something unlike them, something that in the past twenty years we haven’t heard yet just to get a feel of diversity which I find they most desperately need.  Despite the perpetual, seemingly stodgy sound, Low and their album The Invisible Way can majestically inspire and enlighten, the next twenty years in their career is something to look forward to.

Tracks To Listen To:
3.) So Blue
4.) Holy Ghost
5.) Waiting
8.) Just Make it Stop

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