Low – Nottingham Rescue Rooms, Wednesday May 25
There’s a line which has to be crossed with this music. If you’re unable to cross it, then Low will sound like the most boring, miserable band you ever heard. But once you step over that line, their particular brand of understated melancholy can become quite magical.
A three-piece act, headed by the husband and wife team of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, Low are masters of the art of stripping music down to its bare essentials. The playing is simple, sparse and unadorned. Mimi stands impassively behind a skeletal drum kit, sketching out basic rhythms, and gently harmonising with her husband. The songs are uniformly downtempo, with occasional subtle surges of energy. A rapt silence prevails, punctuated by surprisingly enthusiastic whoops of applause between numbers.
During the truly beautiful (That’s How You Sing) Amazing Grace, couples embrace each other around the venue, lending the song the feel of an alt-rock “Our Tune”. Rarely have the Rescue Rooms felt so downright romantic.
The newer material, drawn from the band’s eighth album Drums and Guns, blends seamlessly with old favourites such as Belarus – accompanied by vocal tape loops – and the comparatively rousingDinosaur Act, which closes the show.