On Low’s ninth full-length album, the slowcore trio from Duluth creates its most inviting work to date. C’mon is a collection of modern-day hymns, appropriately recorded in a former Catholic church, that wrap around you and slow down the world.
Sacred Heart Studios proved to be the perfect locale for C’mon with its high ceilings and organic reverb accentuating the open sound of Low’s acoustics. The songs are warm and peaceful, and a haunting quality lingers over each one. “Try To Sleep” opens the album like a lullaby. Mimi Parker’s light harmonies add to frontman Alan Sparhawk’s melody as the two create a space of relaxation. It’s all accompanied by hazy guitars and big bass drum hits with an appearance or two by a tambourine, all a bit subdued but powerful in how they’re used. Such an atmosphere is quite different than the anti-war-driven 2007 release from Low, Drums And Guns.
It’s easy to say that Low makes slow music, but there’s so much to each of its creations that “slow” doesn’t suffice. On C’mon we hear elements of pop and rock alongside jazz and even gospel. The format of the songs follows contemporary gospel music, building upon each layer and repeating the same phrases over and over. “Nothing But Heart” repeats the title for the majority of the song, then adds a contrasting vocal line toward the end that stands out from the intricate soundscape behind it.
“Majesty/Magic” is the slowest builder on the album that truly showcases the group’s ability to write a beautiful song. It begins with an acoustic guitar strumming the same notes over and over. Sparhawk then enters with Parker quietly backing him. The tone tries to keep the delicate balance between major and minor, but it mostly falls to the minor side with dissonant chords and seldom used intervals between the vocals and instrumentation. More accompaniment adds with each cycle of the chorus, culminating to more bass drum hits and an expanded three-part harmony. Goosebumps will ensue.