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The Low Lows

Fire on the Bright Sky

(Monotreme; US: 12 Sep 2006; UK: 2 Oct 2006)

Whispery country pop, ominous with organs

On their final album, the duo of Parker & Lily recorded a ballad called “The Low Lows”, all shivery keyboards, barely breathed, slumberous vocals and eerie brushes of cymbals. The song—and the CD which bore its name—commemorated the romantic break-up of Parker Noon and Lily Wolfe, and, one assumed, the end of their making music together.  Not so, however, as the pair have now reformed as The Low Lows, taking their unusual brand of moody, haunted lo-fi music to new levels of accomplishment.  Fire on the Bright Sky is a gorgeous, tapestry of chill-inducing vocals, subtle guitar strums and ominous Farfisa trills, just a hint of country embedded in it with pedal steel.  The CD is built from the same elements as Beach House’s recent debut—heavily reverbed singing, keyboards and unearthly guitar work—yet it feels far darker and more glamorous.  Spiders are eating flies and wolves are eating dogs, love is doomed and nights go on forever here.  There’s an unhealthy, up-too-long gleam in everyone’s eyes.  Still by the end, “No Such Thing as Sara Jane” shuffles triumphantly, almost joyfully forward, embellished by brass, and “The Russian Ending”, builds from talk-sung reveries to dizzying, fever-pitch swells.  As so often in life, the Low Lows lead inevitably to the high highs, a maelstrom of intense drama, beauty and mood emerging out of darkness.

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