August 26, 2004

Artist: V/A
Album: We Could Live In Hope - A Tribute To Low
Label: Fractured Discs
Release: 2004

I was a bit worried when I heard that a Low tribute was coming out. This isn't your typical affair for a tribute album though. Fractured Discs selected a group of artists to cover songs from Low's first LP, 1994's I Could Live In Hope, in order to celebrate the tenth anniversary of its release. Although I think a tribute that spanned Low's entire career would have been a bit more interesting to hear, there are some amazing covers on display here that are on par, if not better than the originals.

I Could Live In Hope is a solid release, but I wouldn't call it Low's best effort by any means. Still, it is a very influential record. As the case is with much of the group's material, the tracks that form I Could Live In Hope have a very cold atmosphere. What is so surprising about this tribute disc is that it actually brings many of the songs to life in an entirely different form. For example, song-writer/god Mark Kozelek manages to translate the desolate "Lazy" into an upbeat folk number.

The most stunning of the set is Jessica Bailiff's take on "Down." It is even more chilling than the original and features Bailiff backed by slight ambience and a lone acoustic guitar. Daniel G. Harmann and Migala offer two excellent versions of "Words" and His Name Is Alive (featuring Nanang Tatang) put their remix skills to good use on their cover of "Sunshine." My only major complaint is Kid Dakota's butchering of the classic "Lullaby." They changed the lyrics and cut out Alan Sparkhawk's mind-boggling solo! Aside from a couple bland tracks, this is an outstanding tribute record that shows just how much talent has yet to be discovered in music.


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