Release Date: Mar 20, 2007
Record label: Sub Pop
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Review Summary: Brutally sparse and emotional, Drums and Guns is a more difficult album than Low fans will have become accustomed to. Regardless, it's the best thing they've done since Things We Lost in the Fire.Drums and Guns, the eighth full-length (and second for Sub Pop) from Minnesota trio Low opens with the following words; "All the soldiers, they're all gonna die/All the little babies, they're all gonna die". Make no mistake about it, Drums and Guns is a real downer.
A stark retreat from the relatively sunny sound of The Great Destroyer, Drums and Guns is, as its title suggests, inspired by the war in Iraq. True to the spirit of Low's other work, the outrage and regret expressed by these songs is just as timeless as it is timely, lamenting that war still exists as much as it addresses this particular war. And, while Drums and Guns' emotions and lyrics are complex (and on songs like "Murderer," with its "seems like you could use another fool," they don't pull any punches), its sound is often devastatingly spare and simple.
Nothing warms the cockles like an album opening with a distorted drone like a malfunctioning life-support system, distant drums, and a rousing couplet such as "all soldiers are all going to die/ All little babies, they're all going to die. " But that's Low for you, the trio of Minnesota Mormons whose métier has always been misery. Long, luscious songs and cinematic melancholy are their usual preserve; their eighth album see these traded in for short, sharp shocks, metallic percussion, bullet-brusque sound effects, and frequent references to war, hate and death.
Drums and guns. Guns and drums. The eighth full-length from the band that, arguably, invented slo-core comes with an extravagantly produced booklet, some 20 full, four-color pages of photos, with a drum on the left panel and some sort of gun on the right. (Some of the drums are drum machines, but you get the idea.) There's no copy on these pages – though there would be plenty of room for lyrics – just the photos.