Low | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader


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My favorite moment on Low's new record, The Great Destroyer (Sub Pop), is about halfway through "When I Go Deaf." Gently strumming an acoustic guitar, Alan Sparhawk sings about how losing his hearing will improve his life--"We will make love / We won't have to fight / We won't have to speak / And we won't have to lie"--then lets fly with a stadium-size blast of Crazy Horse electric guitar that carries through the rest of the song, as though he can't wait to finish off his eardrums. Mortality, ruination, and the death of music are recurring themes throughout the album, but those end points are often camouflaged beginnings: the protagonist of "Death of a Salesman," for instance, forgets his songs and burns his guitar, but his passion survives in his bond to a loved one. With their last few discs, Low have chipped away at a well-earned reputation for playing hushed, melancholy tunes at a funereal pace, but on The Great Destroyer they blow it to pieces--they've never played so aggressively or sounded so thoroughly in love with noise. The opener, "Monkey," erupts with grimy, bottom-heavy synthesizer tones, and the finale, "Walk Into the Sea," is a gust of in-the-red pop that sounds like the Shangri-Las' "Leader of the Pack" driven through blown-out speakers. Pedro the Lion and Califone front man Tim Rutili open. Fri 2/11, 9 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, $16, 18+.

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