The Invisible Way

[Sub Pop]

Over the course of their dozen-plus previous offerings, Low has never shown themselves to be the most effusive combo, so to hear them opting for a more expressive delivery suggests a bid for accessibility. The tone is still austere, and the subject matter decidedly conflicted—themes veer from struggle to intimacy—but the sound is no longer blanketed by the veil of melancholia that’s enveloped it in the past. Those changes could be attributed to the involvement of producer Jeff Tweedy, a man who knows a thing or two about mixing muscle with mystique. It might also be the result of singer and guitarist Alan Sparhawk’s decision to parcel out more vocals to co-conspirator Mimi Parker. Whatever the reason, the results feel less tenuous, with songs like “So Blue,” “Holy Ghost” and “Four Score” actually taking triumphant turns. Even those tracks that retain Low’s signature mournfulness allow for more emotional connection. The Invisible Way finds the band reaching for new highs. –Lee Zimmerman


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