"Gut-wrenchingly raw & poetic in it's intensity, the Low Lows creep stealthily & astound with the extent to which one album can be so considered and yet sound so un-contrived. Comparisons with Sparklehorse & early Velvet Underground seem a given, and it is the lyricism evident in all three that is the true nexus of TLL's wares... The lyrics, knifelike in their concentration, would steal all attention if it were not for the expertly restrained instrumentation that surrounds them. Perfect."
"Venomously confessional... one of the most voyeuristic and tragic musical projects in recent memory. Parker has shaved his observations on failed romance into lyrics so concise, they're reach haiku-like proportions of succinctness, & he delivers them in one of the most perfectly lilting vocal styles that I've heard in some time...it's melancholy, yet hopeful...a beautifully melded combination of Galaxie 500 and Mazzy Star... The only thing that'll keep you from riding the "repeat" button is the fact that each new track is as striking as the music that came before it... The Low Lows have succeeded in capturing an extraordinarily elusive human experience. Forget the world outside your stereo; Fire On The Bright Sky holds enough musical and emotional depth to keep you entertained throughout the foreboding seasons ahead of us.
"Downright tragic... hauntingly beautiful... Fire on the Bright Sky is a gorgeous, tapestry of chill-inducing vocals, subtle guitar strums and Farfisa trills, just a hint of country embedded in it with pedal steel - plus heavily reverbed singing, keyboards and unearthly guitar work - yet it feels far darker and more glamorous than this might suggest. Spiders are eating flies and wolves are eating dogs, love is doomed and nights go on forever here. There's an unhealthy, up-too-long gleam in everyone's eyes. Still by the end, "No Such Thing as Sara Jane" shuffles triumphantly, almost joyfully forward, embellished by brass, and "The Russian Ending", builds from talk-sung reveries to dizzying, fever-pitch swells. As so often in life, the Low Lows lead inevitably to the high highs, a maelstrom of intense drama, beauty and mood emerging out of darkness."
"Welcome the sadness, the pathos, the noise. The Low Lows are born out of the New York duo Parker & Lily, and behind the screeching (howling!) feedback, the aleatoric piano, the Farfisa organ, the tremolo on nearly everything, is a genuine opening of the human heart. Parker tends toward the monotone on "Dear Flies, Love Spider" which will raise comparisons to the Velvet Underground, but the musical influences on the Low Lows' mesmerizing debut album stretch in many directions, and his vocals actually carry a resonance more likened to early Michael Stipe. This track takes enough time so that listeners can experience every sonic paper cut."
"The Low Lows create pretty, pretty lo-fi dirges driven by guitars, Farfisa organ, and treated vocals. Some might place them firmly in the lineage of the Velvet Underground -- and the feedback squalls and oddly archaic tendencies would back that connection. But at times there's also something soft and delicately enchanting about the Low Lows that places them in line with acts like Galaxie 500, Red House Painters, or the more delicate tendencies of Sparklehorse. Highlights include the Western-gothic drama of "Dear Flies, Love Spider" and "Wolves Eat Dogs." The Low Lows also seem to be at their best when they slow things down to a funereal pace and extract every drop of drama and beauty out of each moment, as in the hauntingly gorgeous "Poor Georgia." This is a solid, lovely effort that sails on the back of strong songwriting and uniquely mournful vocals."
"Utterly searing in surges of intensity, of lyrical oddities, of terrifying pulses and dark corners. With one monumentally pretty song being followed by another similarly colourful and swelling jewel of a slow burn, one could easily mistake The Low Lows as the diseased, Morricone-influenced baby brothers of Low. But this would be to miss the point entirely. Where the Sparhawks have the pleading stance of wronged innocents, Mangham Parker from The Low Lows knows exactly what is wrong. He just can't do anything about it. "I never should have left the woods, I should have known I never could have not hurt you..." he pitifully cries. It is Parker's voice that carries a large portion of 'Fire On The Bright Sky', such is the relative restraint of the arrangements below him. And it is this restraint that allows the barely-intelligible word to become unerringly prevalent. When he wails about 'poor Georgia girls' it is difficult to know what he means, but thunderously easy to know that he means it... The stop-start slapdash of '(No Such Thing As) Sara Jane' is expertly paced with an ending so impeccably woven through with viscous horns and strings that satisfaction is not so much guaranteed as gospel-intoned. The pacing of the record as a whole is monumentally slow, but this does nothing to stifle the enjoyment. It isn't hard to get comfortable with the gradual downward spiral that reaches its lowest ebb on the final spoken-word and organ bluster of 'The Russian Ending'. The beauty is never *not* entirely at the forefront on this most mournful of records."
(Album of the Week)
"Psychedelic, galaxy-touching dream-pop...gaze away and fly with the positive melancholy and scratched surface warmth and the stark sweetness that wraps around you with the majesty of it all. The Low Lows (from Austin, Tx) are wonderfully (strangely) unique and very, very beautiful... There's this warm reassuring glow, or is it a hum? Whatever it is, it's warm and inviting and just very very easy on the soul. Deliciously dreamy and glowing in a wonderfully understated Galaxie 500 alt.country kind of way. Walls of gentle dissonance and country narcosis and soothing gentle caressing white noise beauty and steel guitars and Tindersticks and Yo La Tengo and a radiantly slow rolling panorama that makes you so sure all is right. An almost distant sound, a stark warm caressing beautiful sound, a rather unique and rather special sound, and blue enough to float in, drenched in deliciously subtle reverb and gently caressing feedback. "
"The Low Lows focus on creating inescapable drag forces behind their melodies, & have a penchant for psychic denials so thinly veiled as to call attention to their transparency, leaving vocalist Mangham Parker to croon heartbreakers like " No Such Thing as Sara Jane"... Their lo-fi noise-rock aesthetic does not seem a genre that set out to be epic, stately, or disciplined, but this is a band characterized primarily by those three attributes, all the while masquerading as an anachronistic mess..."
"Fans of My Morning Jacket and Sparklehorse will weep with joy... Wonderfully raw, simultaneously visual and classic, it sounds like the '50s hit Earth Angel, if only it could be broadcast across a vast desert skyline...But what really pushes the album into must-have territory is the way in which singer Mangham Parker is able to evoke the pained, tremolo vocal style that contributed to Chris Isaak's masculine mystique, ultimately situating himself next to the literate, depressed greats like Galaxie 500, Yo La Tengo and the Magnetic Fields... "
"Monstrously sad and brilliantly anachronistic... Three sparkling, slightly surreal rock icons that seem to have been constructed out of white noise. Like werewolves mutating, feedback drips from freshly exposed fangs... Then suddenly they return to us, playing pretty, remorseful songs about the carnage they caused..."
"The band's new album confirms that they've done well to follow their instincts into deeper explorations of romance in glamorous ruin. Its a Coney Island of the mind to be reckoned with, a surreal psychic ride between sweet nostalgia and brutal reality, the superficial and the sublime... the time is somewhere between 1960 and the future, in a world of late-night subway rides and neon cocktail signs, smoke-filled motel rooms, glaring airport terminals, streaks of landscape through the windows of a moving car... The lyrics tell the story cryptically with a precise, poetic minimalism that says little and suggests everything, painting a radiant and desperate, slow-rolling panorama of unflinching extremes..."
"A masterpiece of heartbreak songs, simultaneously vintage and futuristic, glittery and morose. Parker sings with the blank melancholy of a downtown fashion model who appeals to the Wizard of Oz for a heart, then is utterly unsurprised when it arrives pre-broken... the group draws from influences like the Velvet Underground and the Walker Brothers to concoct an entrancingly lo-fi pop noir that could very well be the sound David Lynch hears in his head when he falls asleep high."
"The Low Lows are simply amazing. Dark and thrashy yet strangely calm and soothing, their music rises out like an ocean, erratic and turbulent over the jagged rocks, but if you look deeper down, underneath all the surface mayhem you'll find that all is still and content. Their debut album 'Fire On The Bright Sky' was released back in September 2006 and people are only just catching on to how great this band is. Come on people, keep up!
"Super-slow ballad style... transcendentally melancholy expression... The Low Lows bring back the apple-buttered makeout music of the 50's that rock and roll was never able to destroy. Like the better films of David Lynch, their art doesn't wallow in gooey nostalgia so much as it's the natural product of an anachronistic environment, worried not at all about being out-of-step with it's time.There's something definitely Lynchian about the blase pop-art narcosis purveyed by The Low Lows... Though Parker's lyrics can get as poisonous as you please, the music sounds downright lovely.... Each song on the latest album feels like its going to be the last one. Its a long, blissful denouement of slow, sultry make-out ballads.
"The Low Lows may have been born 20 years too late... dreamy music that calls to mind Velvet Underground-influenced dream-pop bands of the 60s and 70s. Mangham Parker sings sweet, sad melodies over slow-swirling harmonic themes & melodic melancholia, & his steel guitar whines tremulously, producing a sound that resembles surf music played at the wrong RPM... Very few bands attempting to kick over the metronome and play out their measures in jumbo slices actually succeed. The Velvet Underground is responsible for originally tilling the field, but its hard to deny the variety of fruit the patch has yielded -- Low, the American Analog Set, the Cowboy Junkies -- and now... this.
A swirling, majestic debut... the opening lines on this album are "dear flies, gliding by in the warm night. Won't you light and stay awhile, love spider." As the music comes gently drifting in accompanied by the distant high voice of singer Mangham Parker, a sound like its being beamed across from the other end of the universe paints a thousand beautiful pictures of loneliness and longing. As the floating textures and galaxies start to unravel, you'll see that there's a warm beating human heart at the centre of all this. It's a undoubtedly cracked heart, one that has possibly bounded through solar systems only to return and report that "there's no such thing as perfect days, that sparkle and sway and are so so lovely and glowing" before rationalising that "there's surely no such thing as Sara Jane" on a song named after its muse. Like a bubble drifting in the air, you fear that these songs are so tenuous and fragile they could disappear from existence at any moment. Then from out of nowhere a wash of drums and feedback will come crashing in and you see clearly for a few moments that there is real substance to all of this.
"Singer Mangham Parker's delivery is somewhat reminiscent of a 3 a.m. taxi dispatcher singing into the radio trying to stay awake... this is the sound of time to go but not wanting to leave, the dragging of the feet of the soul. Perfect listening for those cold nights, with it's Yo La Tengo-esque atmospherics, hushed haunting vocals and other mood music surprises."
(Best Of '06 List)
"Fire on the Bright Sky is a wonderfully intriguing album. An enormous sound of melodic explosions and dissonant feedback struggles to release itself from your speakers... Mangham Parker's voice demands your utmost attention while sloppy guitars and teasing organs do everything they can to loosen his fragile grasp and asphyxiate him beneath their sea of feedback. At times this record sooths and caresses, seconds later it's making a murderous beeline for your throat which obviously makes for an immersing listen that will repeatedly keep you coming back for more."
"Fire on the Bright Sky is hazily nocturnal and lyrically barbed, and seems cast in shadows and sadness. I've listened to this record a dozen times I still don't know anything about them, and still get lost in it every time. They have patience, and they have grace, and a knack for exploring passion in all its forms - evocative, detailed, compelling, half-dreamed, wild and haunting. The perfectly ringing organ tones, the oak-thick reverb on the vocals...like it's been wrapped in a blanket. And on a humid night with lingering heat, it reminds me what it feels like to want to be warm."
"A suite of slow burning, lo- fi wonder. This record is a must for anyone who has ever lost themselves in early Willard Grant Conspiracy, Yo La Tengo, Tindersticks, Sparklehorse or Grandaddy. 'Fire on the Bright Sky', unfathomably the *debut* album from this Athens, GA trio, immediately sounds like a classic from that genre and will compete with the best work from any of the bands just name checked. Mangham Parker, songwriter and vocalist, sets off his material with a fractured and fragile voice that seems to creep out from under the speakers, drawing the bleached and scorched musical backdrop into focus with lyrics at once perfectly congruous and oddly disparate one from the next. Our regular readers will all have heard records like 'Fire on the Bright Sky', but seldom will they have heard one so beautiful to listen to yet so painful to absorb."
"Drone alt-country pop in the narcotic manner of Galaxie 500 and the early Velvets, the Athens trio unfurl walls of fuzzed guitar dissonance, tremolo cranked up and feedback turned on in the manner of the classic Jesus and Mary Chain albums. On "Dear Flies, Love Spider" singer Mangham Parker sounds like an otherwordly Michael Stipe while Velvet suggests what the VU might have been had they been fronted by a young Johnny Cash. They do a nice line in druggy slow burns, blissfully parcelled here with the keening "St. Neil", the spare, empty desert spaces of "Wolves Eat Dogs", and the ghostly bare-boned barroom waltz "Poor Georgia". The closing "The Russian Ending" drenches its spoken word delivery with the ebb and flow of organ storms, its mood encapsulating the shroud of sadness and heartbreak that inform the album. A follow up, "Tigers", is scheduled for January 2007, with Parker saying he's in a happier frame of mind now. Hopefully, for the sake of the music, not too happy."
"Beautiful, hypnotic noise... a symphony for the lonely and desolate... It's the prom moment you never had (or never could)... slow, lusty, dark; padded with wurlitzers, acoustic guitars, and voices like molasses... Paradoxically (but predictably, as any Low Lows fan will tell you) these heavy, sexy songs rotate around a center of infidelity, of physical and emotional journey, of the intense fretting that accompanies intense love...
"Think of The Swans doing Iron & Wine songs... Very moody & coolly lo-fi sonic. The dusky, moody harmonies call to mind a slow dance in taffeta in a humid high school gym circa 1956...pleasingly woozy in an ambient wash of reverb, old organs and pianos, and transmittal-from-a-distant-star vocals...the plantive, rising and falling notes of Rickard's steel guitar ultimately ground the album in spooky, lonesome beauty. This album would make any Twin Peaks devotee weak in the knees. Delicate, yet powerful, with eerie half sung half spoken vocals from Mangham Parker that could make the hair stand up on a bald eagle... beautifully melancholic fragile elegies... labyrinthine music, easier to get into than out of. One listen and you'll never sleep soundly again."
"Dark, intense, vulnerable, bleak, fascinating, triumphant, delicate, powerful! Call it what you will, whatever it is, it's certainly not your average indie shoe-gazing fodder... The slow, soulful and doleful rock vibe here lives on and on. & Mangham Parker's vocals seem to be ripped from the phantom heart of AM radio. A couple of times, songs seem to be on the verge of passing out, but that distant near yodel, high lonesome, Low Low song calls us back... Radiant and desperate - as if to contain the mess of love in one surreal love song... the result runs the gamut from chaos to bliss."
"Stellar... the band's refinement of its low-key, noirish sound reaches its apex here. A poetic vision from its opening dissonance to its haunting denouement... Moody, often mesmerizing songs coolly face disillusionment, disappointment and resignation head on without succumbing to anything approaching despair. Frankly, I think it's a work of art."