There’s nothing quite like the holiday season. Everybody is frantically running around in all directions, stressed and frivolously purchasing fun toys for family and friends, all supposedly in honour of Jesus Christ. What is meant to be a relaxing time of peace and love, more often than not turns into a frantic, unnerving, list of relatives to visit, errands to run, and things to organize.
The soundtrack to all this madness has traditionally been constructed from a playlist of jaunty, cheery, somehow winter-y songs. But Minnesota indie-rockers Low have an alternate, more fitting set of songs on offer with their Christmas EP. Instead of getting caught up in the fast-paced mayhem, Low offers the stressed holiday listener a moment of refuge from the madness. For years, they have been known as the figurehead of the ‘slowcore’ genre – a style that separated itself from the traditionally loud, fast, and aggressive grunge and alternative rock that was popular in the early 90s. Their music is generally slow, quiet, and based on clean electric guitar lines and a male/female vocal combination. Their approach to recording a Christmas album was quite simple, really. Low takes popular standards such as “Little Drummer Boy” and “Silent Night” and applies their distinct treatment to them. The songs are incredibly soothing and hard to not get completely immersed in, and the resulting listen is a welcome alternative to the hustle and bustle of late December. All of your favourite melodies and choruses are still present, they’re just nice and slow, inviting you to take a deep breath and relax.
The great thing about this album, however, is that it does not feel forced at all. In fact, it sounds like a completely natural piece of music. A lot of bands or artists release an album of Christmas covers without putting much thought towards creating something unique, and the record ends up sounding desperate and contrived. Listening to this EP, it seems strange that more bands have not attempted to capitalize on this approach to making holiday themed music. But then again, something about the Christmas EP (like most of their albums) gives the impression that only Low could have produced this distinct sound with such ease.
Whenever life gets too stressful or fast-paced, Low’s music always seem to have the answer. So why should the holidays be any different? If you need a moment of calm amidst the chaos this Christmas, but still want to remain festive, then Low have you covered.
I'm planning to in 2013 (one of many quite cliche resolutions I will have). It's just a matter of motivation for me - it's hard to make myself write. I just scribbled this out in twenty minutes and it's not very informative, but whatever haha.
Gyromania Contributing Reviewer December 25th 2012
lol i'm in the same boat right now. too often i feel like i'm forcing it, but i've also been pretty busy lately. i'll have a lot more time to write in january without school in the way.
yeah, I only write well when it comes naturally. If I ever try to force it to meet a deadline or something, it comes out feeling like, well, feeling like I have nothing to say about the album (see my review for Smoke Fairies' "Blood Speaks" for an example of this effect)
cheers everybody, eight votes (positive or negative) is more than I thought this would get.
Nice work, have a pos. I love how you can be so concise yet thorough - it's something I have to learn myself. If you'd like specific feedback and shit just say so and I'll go through more seriously.
thanks dude. I actually struggle with making my writing concise every time I try to produce something. This review had virtually no preparation and I told myself I would not ramble, so it came out short. I still get the feeling like I didn't say enough about the music, but I'm actively trying to write shorter reviews.
as for specific feedback, I mean, if there are some glaring issues that you want to point out then sure. but don't critique just for the sake of it, haha. thanks for reading anyway.