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The Great Destroyer

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The Great Destroyer album cover
Everybody's Song
Silver Rider
Just Stand Back
On the Edge Of
Cue the Strings
When I Go Deaf
Broadway (So Many People)
Death of a Salesman
Walk Into the Sea
Album Information

Total Tracks: 13   Total Length: 53:20

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Wondering Sound

Review 39

Douglas Wolk


Douglas Wolk writes about pop music and comic books for Time, the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Wired and elsewhere. He's the author of Reading Comics: How Gra...more »

Low, The Great Destroyer
Label: Sub Pop Records

Low spent the first decade of their career as the quietest band in indie rock, letting the negative space around each tap on Mimi Parker's floor tom and each note from her husband Alan Sparhawk's guitar curl upward into the night. Gradually, though, they reclaimed the overt volume and fury they'd started out abjuring, and with The Great Destroyer — their seventh studio album, and first for Sub Pop — they opened up and roared,… read more »

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Savage, ferocious, still super pretty


Listen/download "Monkey" and you've got the whole record's mission statement. Still minimalist. Still just a tiny drum set, a bass, a guitar, two voices. Still pretty slow. But jeez Louise! How could close harmonies be terrifying? How could one guitar that totally isn't metal sound imply such vast darkness? What the fuck got into our slowcore heroes? There are no answers. Just beautiful falls into deep bad places. The beginning of Low 2.0: The scary Low.

eMusic Features


Interview: Low

By Laura Leebove, Managing Editor

Low's albums have followed a fascinatingly diverse arc during their tenure on Sub Pop: The life-affirming electric bombast of 2005's The Great Destroyer, their first for the label, was followed by the moodier, tightly-wound and politically-fueled Drums & Guns. Their 2011 record C'mon is majestic and intimate, an uncharacteristically clean recording with lyrics that can almost be read as a conversation between the band's founders, husband and wife Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker. Their goal… more »


Interview: Low

By Sam Adams, Contributor

After Drums & Guns and The Great Destroyer, you might assume the title of Low's ninth album, C'mon indicates the band is lowering its sights – setting aside universals for a colloquial invitation. But Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker have simply turned their attentions inward, searching, sometimes painfully, for a way to co-exist with the world, and with each other. There hasn't been so honest a report from inside a long-term relationship since Yo La… more »

They Say All Music Guide

Over the years, Low have been on labels as diverse as Kranky and Virgin offshoot Vernon Yard, worked with distinctive producers like Kramer and Steve Albini, and have managed to adapt their sound without losing any of their identity. All of this applies to Great Destroyer, the band’s first album for Sub Pop and their first collaboration with producer Dave Fridmann. Fridmann’s detailed sound is a far cry from either Kramer or Albini’s minimalist tendencies, but his work here shows that Low can sound as good in elaborate settings as they do in simple ones: “Monkey”‘s intricate layers of distorted drums, organ, and guitar have an unusual depth, and the synth strings and heartbeat-like electronic drums on “Cue the Strings” just add to the intimacy and subtlety of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker’s harmonies. Ironically enough, Great Destroyer is by far Low’s most polished and accessible-sounding album, even more so than their quasi major-label output. That may turn off purists yearning for I Could Live in Hope’s simplicity, but aside from the bigger sound, there’s something for almost every kind of Low fan on the album: chilly, brooding songs (“Pissing,” “Everybody’s Song”), gentle but powerful songs (“On the Edge Of,” “Silver Rider”) and gorgeous epics (“Broadway (So Many People)”). The group’s touted rock direction offers some of Great Destroyer’s strongest, and weakest, moments. “California”‘s soaring warmth has odd but appealing early- to mid-’90s alt pop sheen to it, sounding a bit like Girlfriend-era Matthew Sweet played at half speed. However, “Just Stand Back” and “Step” are somewhat clunky and contrived, with the production overwhelming the songs. The tracks about aging and acceptance — a major theme on Great Destroyer — feel much more genuine, particularly “When I Go Deaf,” another of the band’s bittersweet and slightly disturbing songs like “In Metal.” “Death of a Salesman,” a short, stripped-down tale of what’s left behind with age, is also affecting; though an album full of songs like these might be too much, they’re wonderfully intimate glimpses. “Walk Into the Sea” provides a relatively uplifting — if not happy — ending to this thoughtful, graceful album, but at this point, it’s difficult to expect anything less from Low. – Heather Phares

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