\ Hip Displeasure: Low - <i>The Great Destroyer</i>

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Sunday, February 20, 2005

Low - The Great Destroyer

Sub Pop

If there's one thing viewers of the Paris Hilton sex tape came away with, other than a raging case of retinal gonorrhea, it's the realization that seemingly high-quality content can be absolutely ruined by the way it's recorded. Rick Solomon's disastrous directorial debut probably should have been called Behind the Green Lens, because of his ill-fated decision to film the celebutante coitus through a pair of Arthur Kent's '91-vintage night vision goggles. A similar fate befalls the latest Low album, The Great Destroyer, as otherwise superb songs are submerged in a sea of shot subwoofers.

While the relentless onslaught of distorted low-end gives the intense "Monkey" an added sense of urgency, it spoils many of the other tracks on The Great Destroyer, such as turning the tender "California" into a tuneless trainwreck. Still, the album isn't a total loss. "When I Go Deaf" succeeds not in spite of, but because it sounds like Paul and Paula backed by Crazy Horse. And the beautiful ballad "Broadway (So Many People)" soars above not only the rest of this album, but nearly everything else released so far in 2005. The Great Destroyer, on the other hand, never quite manages to get fully off the ground.


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