Why couldn't they have done this earlier when my attention was flagging?
The Low Lows – Fire on the Bright Sky
A classic case of a reviewer being deceived by a brilliant opener; Dear Flies, Love Spider could be a Crime and the City Solution or Seeds number, what with its plaintive vocal delivery and jangling, slightly reedy instrumental arrangements. It's a wonderful, beguiling beginning to an LP that, sadly, doesn't really get out of 3rd gear. A pity, as it's difficult to reconcile this track with the rest of the LP, as everything else is pretty morose and reflective in tone.
A run of tracks starting from second song White Liner through Velvet, St Neil, Wolves Eat Dogs and Lane Fire, Poor Georgia and Sarah Jane all follow the path of very quiet slightly spiritual beginnings followed by very sparse instrumental backing (the key here seems to be, "less is more", well sorry, not in this case it isn't). What could be very affecting, uplifting ballads or laments are in effect rendered very unimaginative by their sparse instrumentation. There's not enough inherent tension in the tracks themselves to warrant such minimalism.
Near the end however, things start to pick up; The Russian Ending is the best track since the first. Talked vocal lines, guitar noise, and that Seeds organ sound all get thrown together in a mesmerising number. Why couldn't they have done this earlier when my attention was flagging? Oh well, buy this if you fancy being morose for an hour or two.
Words: Richard Foster.