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Classic Album Review: Low | Secret Name

Steve Albini helps the Duluth slowcore trio expand their musical horizons.

This came out in 1999 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


The Cowboy Junkies almost sound like speed freaks next to Low, a Duluth, Minn., trio that take minimalism to the max: Tortoise-slow tempi, molasses melodies and songs that ebb and flow with the speed and subtlety of tides.

On their Steve Albini-recorded  fifth album, Secret Name, they expand musically with some strings, piano and kettle drums — and even a buzzing drone or two — but the bedrock of their sound remains the sensitive, elegantly soothing interplay between the bass, drums and guitar. It’s so magnificent it makes you wonder why everybody else is in such a rush.