A dose of midnight paranoia and bewitching noise
The five-minutes of white noise in the middle of Low’s set confirm that they’re not going to deliver a festival-friendly greatest hits package. Miley Cyrus may be proclaiming that “we like to party” at the other end of the Parc del Forum site but the Duluth trio are primed for their midnight slot with the kind of paranoia that keeps you awake.
It’s a no compromise approach that starts with the slow disintegration of ‘Quorum’. Angry squalls of guitar compete with moments of sweet harmonisation between drummer Mimi Parker and frontman Alan Sparhawk, creating a broken and confused sound that’s teased out even further on ‘Dancing And Blood’. Built around a simple, repetitive electronic drum pattern, it’s so distorted that when Parker’s vocals manage to cut through they’re warped and fragmented.
The simplicity of the track’s instrumentation is the deceptive base on which they’ve founded their 25-year career. The slow, creeping lines on deep cut ‘Lazy’ and the pulsing drums on ‘Fly’ create a tension that’s borne of barely contained restraint. On the rare occasions that it’s released the effect is devastating; the sight of Sparhawk gnawing on his guitar strings during ‘Do You Know How To Waltz?’ conjuring desperate confusion rather than Hendrix-esque showmanship.