Lost At Sea

Various Artists
We Could Live In Hope - A Tribute to Low
Fractured Discs
Rating: 8/10

I adore neat coincidences - they're like kismet in a bottle. Well, without the bottle, I guess. The day I wrote this review, I was listening to Things We Lost in the Fire in my car stereo. Totally unplanned, but so fitting...

Low is such a simple name, recalling the band's volume, tone, and the sweetness of their sound. Similarly, each track on this tribute album is one word, and quite ably crafted out of affection. The sentiment is uncomplicated and pure, as this is one of the best compilations I have heard in a long time.

It begins with Daniel G. Harmann's "Words," a lovely, warbling number filled with grainy acoustics, fluidity and optimistic harmonies. His rendition is down to earth, but swells in all the right places, and right off the bat, it makes me want to run out and explore his other releases [ed. I did, and might I add, The Lake Effect is just as stirring].

Other worthy surprises are also present, as are some sure things. A Northern Chorus's "Slide" washes over you, dreamy and long with echoes and stillness in great, contrasting effect. Misc/Ill Lit cover "Sea" together, creeping in with a low blurt of sound and moving to rootsy, rolling accord, taking you over like any good Low track would. Of course, Mark Kozelek's "Lazy" and Idaho's trip-hop dreamscape "Rope" are certain reasons to check out the tribute, reinterpreting the tracks with astute dissections as only true veterans could.

Nearly every track is a keeper, with devotion pouring throughout the constant reminders of why Low is such a great band in the first place. With every little shift of style and each too-close homage, we know why they're the best at what they do. When His Name is Alive teams up with Ida offshoot Nanang Tagang on "Sunshine (Super Low Remix)", we realize the word "tribute" could not be more affectionate or honest. It's a fantastic way to end the album, swarming in and overarching like a tightly wrapped blanket, with lofty vocal production and the hushed sensibility of a lullaby. As Low is a great and noble band, the love of Low is also great and noble; this has been duly proven by a tribute covered in gauze and dreams.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters

this review is/was online at Lost At Sea
and is available here for archival use only