/kranky; 2002/

rating : Well, I don’t like marks. Please read the review… 7.5



more info:

Trust is both close and different from the previous albums: the music is still minimalist but some songs disrupt the usual quiet path of the album, the songs are still dark but there is here and there strange rays of brightness (“Tonight”’s dreamy atmosphere; “Diamond”, “In the drugs”, “snowstorm”, ‘la la la song’).

The problem with Low’s last album is its long duration. The Curtain Hits the Cast (my favourite one), Secret Name & Things We Lost in the Fire last longer than an hour but they have this unity which make them all special and which Trust does not benefit. In addition, Steve Fisk’s discreet production in The Curtain Hits the Cast or Steve Albini’s on Things We Lost in the fire were quite different but they brought their original aspect to the songs while Tchad Blake’s production seems flat because he doesn’t seem to apply a particular production to the bands he works with but to adapt the production to the very core of the songs. It can be  a great quality (for example he successfully worked with Lisa Germano or Pearl Jam – according to their fans because I don’t like PJ) but in my opinion Low’s music now requires new productions because their style does not particularly change. Albini’s production was rawer and if it tended to bring into relief the drums (“dinosaur act”, “july” for instance), it did not create a stomp effect like here. In this album, the drums often give the impression to be distant stomps coming nearer (“Candy Girl”, “Snowstorm”, “john prime” ) or even regular hammers hits (the end of “I am the Lamb”). There is also an important amount of reverb throughout the album, which does not particularly fits with all the songs. Surprisingly, it does not particularly convey a cold, chilly atmosphere which would be welcome in Low’s bare arrangements. Then again, it might be because of the songs’ difference. The problem is that these effects are not used in the same way throughout the album, which creates a discrepancy between the darker songs and the lighter ones. However, most of the songs are good: 

Low’s new album starts off with the magnificent “That’s how you sing amazing grace” and its handsome guitar leitmotiv theme. “Canada” is a surprising song for Low: it consists of layers of guitars and its main riff could almost make it an indie song reminiscent of Sebadoh or Yo La Tengo (even if the sound differs). In the ethereal “Diamond”, the group seems to start its recovery from depression and Alan and Mimi keep repeating ‘Allright’, their voice being entwined and seem to float over the music. My favourite song is the heady and sinister “I am the Lamb” and its religious dimension (it deals with sacrifice and redemption). Alan’s dirgeful singing is astonishing in this one. “In the Drugs” follows on and relieves the atmosphere. “Snowstorm” is another particular song insofar as it is a 2minutes almost naïve indie-pop number. “John Prime” is another dark, slow moving and pounding song which represents Low’s trademark. “Little Argument with Myself” builds up a vocal tension which is underlined by the music and is quickly brought to a climax in the middle of the song. It is a venerable song but someone who is familiar with the trio’s other albums may easily feel like having heard it in the other full-lenghts. Once again, the next song (‘la la la song’) relieves the tension thanks to its naïve folk aspect and hand-clapped rhythm. Delicate piano notes appear in the following “Point of disgust”, a dream-pop song in which entwined voices echo the piano. The last one entitled “Shots & ladders” is a slow funereal oration similar to this kind of songs they’ve already done in their other albums.

Duluth based slowcore trio’s last album is far from being bad. In fact, all the songs are rather good but the whole is too long and a little bit irregular. They undeniably have a brilliant, dark songcraft but they seem to repeat a formula – a great one most certainly – they have been developing and repeating for almost ten years now. That’s why the three previous albums are better than this one (despite its 3 or 4 highly emotional and beautiful songs).

-Blacklisted Igor

/nov 1st 2002/