More lonely than Paris Hilton’s brain cell, slower than a tortoise in a glue factory, ‘Things We Lost In The Fire’ is a difficult album to review – for me at least. When I’m in the mood for listening to it, I’m definitely not in the mood for writing. It’s that mood where every second you see tick by is one wasted unless it’s spent staring at the ceiling, the walls or the pillow you’ve got your face buried in; or maybe for staring through the car wind-screen, somewhere cold. Low are high contenders for the slowest tempo’ed rock band around. They’re also one of the least cheerful. There are few moments of joy here, but it makes up for it by being both beautiful and believable. Having said that it’s not annoyingly miserable; you’re never thinking “shut up and cheer up” because while it often sounds sad, it never sounds self-pitying. The lyrics are far from perfect in many places, but what sounds wrong on paper, sounds just right on the record itself. The opener ‘Sunflower’ is a near-perfect contemplation on grief with a resounding ray of hope behind it all. Some tracks (eg. ‘July’) reach despairing troughs too deep and long to be accessible (even if they are powerful and thought provoking) but the majority of the record stands up as a true original of alternative rock. The male/female harmonies work seamlessly and don’t detract from the intimate and deeply personal atmosphere. Admittedly it does take a while to warm to ‘Things We Lost In The Fire’ but it eventually unearths itself, like a diary entry read through a dirty window.
It’s not for every day, but when the moment takes you, it’s worth it and it feels like nothing else will fit. It’s more than just a designated wallowing pit, it reaches moments of palpable emotional depth (‘Laser Beam’, ‘Sunflower’) that seem far too real to be called self-indulgent or pretentious. Still, it doesn’t hit its targets as often as it should. Trimmed down, this would have made a mighty E.P.
Key track: Sunflower
Listen to this: when you’re tired in every sense and not overly happy.