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Review: Retribution Gospel Choir, ‘2’

SPIN Rating: 7 of 10
Release Date: January 26, 2010
Label: Sub Pop
Josh Modell // December 23, 2009

In recent years, slowcore pioneers Low have forcefully shaken their defining somberness and dabbled in what actually might be called rock. So it wasn’t a total shock in 2008 when singer-guitarist Alan Sparhawk formed Retribution Gospel Choir — essentially Low minus angel-voiced wife/drummer Mimi Parker — to canoodle with more classic sounds. What’s more surprising is how naturally he’s made the shift. The band’s second album gets a bit hackneyed at times (bar-rockin’ trifle “White Wolf”), but Sparhawk generally seems re-energized, channeling Crazy Horse (“Poor Man’s Daughter”) and crafting the sort of genuinely rousing chorus (“Hide It Away”) that Low never would’ve indulged.