The band's take on techno isn't cold, detached or inert; in fact, nearly every sample comes from a real, live instrument. Master synthesists, Daniel Brandt, Jan Brauer and Paul Frick make strings, winds, brass and percussion sound like anything but.
The Britpop band's first album in 11 years is one of the finest comeback albums in recent memory. Brett Anderson sounds as melodramatic and persuasive as ever on Bloodsports, and he can still belt out choruses with the best of them.
Low's 10th full-length studio album was produced by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, who avoids any temptation to radically stretch the Minnesota band's boundaries. But he wisely dials up the interplay between its two singers, while letting bits of piano and spare percussive rumbles provide a jolt of portent.
Though he's smoothed out some of the extremes in his sound, the eccentric folksinger takes a lot of tonal detours on his seventh album. But that's the sound of creative freedom for a songwriter who's never been afraid to follow his whims to epiphanies, dead ends and many points in between.
The singer-songwriter's new album was written entirely in response to his recent divorce. Even in its darkest moments, though, The Beast in Its Tracks finds Ritter sounding more bruised than wounded, and yearning to compartmentalize and preserve the happy memories that remain.