The Austin Chronicle

Texas Platters

Reviewed by Christopher Gray, July 6, 2007, Music


Low Pining (Undertow)

Although named after the Permian Basin town, population 6,800, called the "oasis of the West Texas desert," post-Milton Mapes endeavor Monahans (same band, different name) swaps the smoldering Southwestern vistas of 2005's The Blacklight Trap for the marine melancholy of ocean-themed debut Low Pining. As two of the most desolate, hostile, and otherworldly environments on the planet, desert and ocean share much: the man/elements confrontation required to negotiate either but also the beauty and comfort of solitude in a vast sea of nothing. The fourpiece and friends (including Cowboy Junkie Margo Timmins) look to U2's Unforgettable Fire and Peter Gabriel's Us in "Across the Waves," while the title track is languid Automatic for the People R.E.M. And just as both "Blind Tide Sails and Weather Vane Hearts" and "End of Night" return to West Texas in Explosions in the Sky sprawl, Low Pining simmers throughout without ever really rising to a boil.


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