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The Low Lows

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Album Review

The decade-long romance of Parker Noon and Lily Wolfe ended while recording The Low Lows, the duo's third album. However, their heavy hearts have given listeners the most daring and thoughtful record of their career. Once more a silvered, cinematic tone is cast. From the slow-motion drunkenness of "I Am a Gun" and spring-like lull of "June Gloom" to name-dropping Stephen Merritt, a fellow moper, in "Suit of Fire," Noon doesn't hold back when feeling sorry for himself. In fact, he steps up to the mic, pours his heart out, and refuses to leave. Please don't balk at such behavior; it really is endearing. He really makes an effort in exploring the capacity of his voice. His voice is much more clear-cut, unlike his presence on earlier outings like Hello Halo and Here Comes Winter; it allows the listener to feel the somber emotion in The Low Lows. Wolfe stays in the shadows a bit more, giving Noon's fragile, harrowing vocals the spotlight. Her warm, girlish vocals turn cool. She veils herself through instruments; a quiet menagerie of assorted organs, vibraphones, and bells, they waltz along to Noon's gloomy combination of steel guitar, brass, and strings. Wolfe's sweetness, prominent on the first two albums, isn't really there anymore. Noon has to strive for it on his own. He whimpers "Don't blink your stylish eyes like that at me/ You're not the f***ing prom queen" at Wolfe during "The Last Good Night." Such dolefulness is somewhat repaired offset with the carnival-like draw of brass and organs that embellish the piece. Noon mewls on until the very end. Noon does give thanks to her on "The Smashing Party" and Wolfe's hushed backing vocals attempt to soothe his aching soul. Don't be sad when listening to The Low Lows. Parker and Lily have achieved their most realized set of material, and it's a beautiful album. Just because their love has ended doesn't mean the music is done.


Formed: 2000 in New York, NY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

The dream pop duo Parker and Lily compose simplistic indie rock melodies similar to Galaxie 500 and Siddal, and have been called the John Doe and Exene Cervenka of N.Y.C. angst pop. Charming vocalist Parker Noon and pianist Lily Wolfe, formerly of Valentine Six, formed the band in early 2000 and have been local favorites in and around N.Y.C. clubs like the Knitting Factory and CBGB's. Shared dates with Cat Power, Stereo Total, Arab Strap, and White Hassle have also led to a growing fan base and critic's...
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The Low Lows, Parker and Lily
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