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Lloyd is the author of this music review.
If you’re familiar with Low’s brilliant, expansive, gloriously grandiose 2011 album C’mon, you’ll know from the opening notes of The Invisible Way that the band is after something different this time. As The Invisible Way moves forward through its 11 mostly hushed, sparse and intimate tracks, you’ll hear this great band pursuing a more direct, scaled-back sound than what they explored on C’mon. If you agree that Low makes eminently spiritual, quasi-gospel music-I firmly believe that they do-then whereas C’mon was fit for a cathedral (figuratively and literally), The Invisible Way is better suited for solitary, candle-lit reflection and prayer.
The Invisible Way was produced by Jeff Tweedy, frontman of Wilco, one of modern rock’s leading lights and most critically acclaimed acts. On both his band’s last few albums and his growing resume as a producer, Tweedy has come to demonstrate a rather consistent and recognizable aesthetic that emphasizes those qualities of The Invisible Way mentioned above. The commonality is rooted in what could be described as a sonic modesty and an emphasis on quietness, intimacy, and warmth. Songs thus rendered seem to create an airy, cozy, well-appointed interior space and invite us into that space for a nice visit.
All this makes The Invisible Way an excellent Low album, though a departure from not only its immediate predecessor but also the rest of the band’s catalog. In thinking about this review, I went back and listened to the band’s first album, 1994’s I Could Live in Hope, and, as with C’mon, the new album sounds and feels strikingly different.