Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker are rarely, if ever, self-referential, though you wouldn't blame them: Low's been around almost three decades. They have the range. But when they sing, "Somewhere out on the ocean, across the waves, the rise and fall deep beyond imagination," in harmonies that quell the deepest doubts and soothe the savage heart, I can't help but think of "Over the Ocean'' from The Curtain Hits the Cast. The track typified Low's sound in 1996 — slow, sweet and spare, yet atmospheric — but, in so few words and even fewer chords, gave into the unknown's beauty with unease. "Disappearing," from the band's forthcoming 13th album HEY WHAT, is, if not a direct reference, at least an echo received with wisdom. "That disappearing horizon, it brings cold comfort to my soul," they sing together as backwards guitar billows with a peek into the void, its distorted plume a serene surrender. To paraphrase Heraclitus, no person ever steps in the same ocean twice, for it's not the same ocean and they're not the same person.
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