KUTE Radio’s Pick o’ the Week



LowDrums and GunsSub Pop RecordsFour out of five stars

It’s funny how most people fear change. Even in the indie scene, where people are screaming to be “different,” some only want to be unique enough to seem hip without finding themselves too far in left field–alone and no longer a part of the anti-clique clique.

For people like this who also consider themselves fans of Low, the newest release from the Duluth trio will be considered social suicide in the form of music. In Drums & Guns, there is a distinct deviation from the familiar playground of Low’s previous works, and the music seems to have taken on a new life. Perhaps it’s an entirely new incarnation of the band.

The group, which manned the helm of the “slowcore” movement with more than 10 albums spanning 13 years, reached out of its comfort zone to some extent when it recorded The Great Destroyer (the band’s 2006 masterpiece). Here in Drums & Guns, Low strays even further from the fields it planted and cultivated in previous years.

Don’t get me wrong: The same themes and moods are found here that were found in older albums, but the phoenix has been reborn of different feathers this time around. The desolation is still abundant (“Belarus” is a great example), the morbidity of murder is in full force (try “Pretty People” or “Murderer”) and the ache of remorse is ever-present (as in “Dragonfly,” my personal favorite). However, these themes are now newly draped in electronic blips and fuzz, drum machines and loops. Like a soul sporting a new body, the sound may be different, but the song is unchanged.