by Jess Dooley
Even though 2013 isn’t over yet, it’s seen many reunion tours (Spitalfield and The Postal Service were particularly exciting) and 20th birthdays (At The Drive-In, Daft Punk, Family Force Five, and Children of Bodom, just to name a few). Duluth, MN-based indie rock trio, Low, can also add themselves to the later category and chose to celebrate the only way that makes sense: with a new record.
The Invisible Way marks another milestone for the group, as their tenth studio album, and delivers much of the same soothing and humble melodies the band (lead vocalist and guitarist Alan Sparhawk, drummer-vocalist Mimi Parker, and bassist Steve Garrington) are known for. Even though Way features Parker’s vocals in the lead more than any other album from the band’s catalog (five songs compared to her typical three), Low maintain their penchant for brooding themes and folky, soulful acoustic style. Sparhawk and Parker’s vocal harmonies are no less hauntingly beautiful on this outing either. But in 20 years, somethings’s gotta change.
Of his experiences in songwriting over the past two decades, Sparhawk explains, “Writing never gets easier necessarily. You always start with nothing. Experience kinda gives you a little bit of reassurance. Eventually you’ll learn eventually that will break.” After a moment, he adds, “You don’t get better at writing. A ‘mature’ or ‘experienced’ songwriter is an oxymoron in lots of ways.”
Accounting for the band’s continuous touring lifestyle, he also makes mention of the nostalgia for the early days of the band’s career, noting that, “all the wonder of the first time, you miss that because a lot of times traveling gets old. But the very nature of that is such that you can’t go back. Part of what makes it really great is that you don’t know what you’re really doing.”
The Invisible Way is, if not anything else, a maturation of the band’s sound born from both progression and experience. To support their newest release, Low will be playing in Philadelphia again on Friday, June 21st at World Café Live.