Alan Sparhawk

Solo Guitar

BY Chris WhibbsPublished Apr 2, 2007

Low fans sometimes verge on the fanatic, trying to scrape together every last iota of output, which can be frustrating to the band, sometimes wishing to get outside of the box the fans wish them to be in. As the title notes, this is just the Low front-man and his guitar in an expansive church, and it is also a cry to free himself from the prison that is Low. Sure, that band have skirted heavy drone before on "Do You Know How to Waltz?” and "John Prine,” but Sparhawk fully indulges here. Using a looping drone to back up his punctuations, one could hear a similarity to Neil Young’s work on the Dead Man soundtrack, but Sparhawk pushes a bit more. While most songs are short, the two centrepieces are properly drone-sized, allowing the atmosphere to be total. And, indeed, the longest, "How a Freighter Comes Into the Harbour,” works the best. The echoes reverberate perfectly and the slow pace allows Sparhawk to languish in every tortured note. While this is not the most captivating of albums, is hardly essential and most Low fans would hate it, it seems Sparhawk wouldn’t have it any other way.

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