Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. Mar 18, 2013
    80
    Low give us a definitive chapter for where they are presently, and present it with more clarity and joy than we've heard from them in some time.
  2. 80
    The core of any Low album, though, is the unearthly beauty of Sparhawk and his wife Mimi Parker's vocal harmonies, which, after 20 years, have lost none of their emotion-stirring power. [Apr 2013, p.90]
  3. 80
    The Invisible Way is Low’s essence distilled--potent, powerful and pure.
  4. Mar 13, 2013
    80
    Produced by Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, The Invisible Way is warm and organic, melodic and fragile. Twenty years into their career, and Low have created one of their best albums yet.
  5. The character of each new Low album is always a mystery until you hear it, so speculating on whether they’re likely to continue working in this manner is pointless at this juncture, but it’s good to know that ten albums in Low still have the ability to put together a stirring collection of songs.
  6. Mar 19, 2013
    80
    The Invisible Way is as spare, heavy, and lovely as anything Low’s ever done, but it feels essential; there’s an extra beauty to the bleakness of these songs.
  7. Mar 19, 2013
    88
    The trio again puts a premium on space and intimacy in the arrangements, which works especially well this time because of the uniformally high quality of the melodies.
  8. Mar 25, 2013
    70
    The Invisible Way may not be the most significant brick, but its sturdiness is something to be admired.
  9. 70
    While the connective tissue between the record’s highlights simmers at the same temperature as much of Low’s back catalog, The Invisible Way flows as a satisfying whole.
  10. 80
    The Invisible Way champions everything that is great about Low and realizes it through a neat and clear lens. It’s a formidable outing and at number ten, a remarkable feat met with solid results.
  11. Mar 1, 2013
    80
    Parker's vocals have taken a noticeably more prominent role, often duetting with herself rather than her husband.... Songs like 'Four Score' and 'Holy Ghost'--where Parker takes the lead--are buoyed by unashamedly gospel-inflected chorales. And it works, wonderfully.
  12. Mar 13, 2013
    70
    It’s the sound of Low passing up the opportunity for a twentieth-anniversary blow-out and opting instead for a quiet get-together with old friends.
  13. May 15, 2013
    80
    The version of Low that helped define a subgenre remains recognizable throughout, but their sound has expanded.
  14. 83
    Lovely, intimately spare songs. [5 Apr 2013, p.67]
  15. Mar 21, 2013
    78
    They maintain the patient emotional tone that has drawn fans to their music over the years while refining their sound into something even deeper.
  16. Mar 7, 2013
    80
    The balming glow of the Sparhawks' sunray-through-clouds harmonies, their surfeit of haunting, enigmatic melodies, makes immersion in The Invisible Way's melancholia a sublime pleasure. [Apr 2013, p.96]
  17. Mar 13, 2013
    80
    There’s a majestic soulfulness here too that makes The Invisible Way one of their strongest, most coherent works.
  18. Mar 20, 2013
    70
    They make enough changes while doing what they do best to avoid getting pigeonholed, which is more than we can ask for from a band that’s about to start a third milestone.
  19. Mar 14, 2013
    80
    [Drummer Mimi Parker's] songs, like the uncharacteristically jaunty, slowly swelling Just Make It Stop, are the highlights.
  20. Mar 19, 2013
    65
    It’s a disappointment to hear the band retreat into their old shell on their latest, The Invisible Way.
  21. Mar 21, 2013
    73
    Nothing on these songs sounds the least bit rote or comfortable, and that’s remarkable for a band so far into an unlikely career.
  22. Mar 20, 2013
    80
    The Invisible Way is very good--and not just “good for a band that’s 20 years old.”
  23. Mar 12, 2013
    80
    Gloomy and wonderful. [Apr 2013, p.105]
  24. Jun 4, 2013
    60
    Low still sound beautiful, but there’s a nagging feeling that The Invisible Way represents a slight drop-off in focus.
  25. Apr 1, 2013
    50
    Low has found what they do well and occasionally even exceed the standards they've set for themselves, but the stoicism and gradual build that comprises the band's best songs is at times defeated by their lyrical disinterest and repetition.
  26. Mar 25, 2013
    70
    Hello, Mimi Sparhawk, who sings lead on five of these 11 songs instead of her usual one or two, and it is glorious to behold.
  27. Mar 19, 2013
    91
    It’s as if Low has taken its tried-and-true songwriting formula--a slow buildup into a smoldering climax--and stretched it to the length of an entire album. And an entirely superb one.
  28. Mar 20, 2013
    80
    It doesn’t quite rank alongside their very strongest material, but there are still more rippling vocal harmonies and gutting one-liners than most bands could be proud of in a lifetime.
  29. 60
    This throws most of one's attention on the vocals, always the most engagingly evanescent aspect of their sound.
  30. 90
    On The Invisible Way Sparhawk has managed the rare trick of rendering that language not only intelligible but lustrous and attractive to even the staunchest naysayer while simultaneously steering his band around a fresh and perhaps uncharted musical turn.
  31. Mar 18, 2013
    70
    Its 10th full-length album in two decades as a band, the band pulls back from that intensity but adds layers of depth and surprise.
  32. Mar 18, 2013
    80
    As ever, it's the gorgeous harmonies of husband and wife Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker that make these sparsely decorated songs take flight.
  33. Apr 5, 2013
    50
    It's a record that doesn't undermine their body of work, but nor does it stand out as a career-defining highlight.
  34. Mar 1, 2013
    70
    The Invisible Way has Wilco's Jeff Tweedy behind the faders, and he superbly captures the concentrated simplicity of Low's aesthetic. But sometimes the restricted palettes can be a little cloying,[Mar 2013, p.56]
  35. Mar 1, 2013
    80
    The fact that Parker sings five of eleven tracks is The Invisible Way's other obvious point of departure, and one of its great strengths. [Apr 2013, p.61]
  36. Mar 18, 2013
    65
    Overall, this is a fine record that continues the Low legacy.
User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 14 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Feb 3, 2014
    9
    Low really are on top form! Their last album, C'mon, was a great piece of work and The Invisible Way continue in this rich and intense vein. Featuring more of Mimi Parker's vocals (an excellent move), it features some fantastic singing alongside the usual unsettling, compelling guitars. My album of last year. Full Review »
  2. Jun 1, 2013
    9
    I have always been a massive fan of both Low and Wilco so you can imagine my excitement when I heard that Jeff Tweedy was on production duties for ‘The Invisible Way’ Low’s 10th studio album and upon hearing it I can assure you it’s a perfect match. Tweedy has, by keeping the band minimalistic, helped them make perhaps their finest work to date, a subtle and moving record that takes everything you loved about Low and turns it into something darkly beautiful. Piano dominates most of the eleven songs here as do Mimi Parker’s vocals and pushing her to the forefront is a stroke of musical genius, the frailty of her voice giving real gravitas to the songs themes. Opening track ‘Plastic Cup’ tells the story of how a cup used to collect samples to test for drug taking is uncovered many years in the future and revered as a kind of Holy Grail. ‘Just Make It Stop’ is stunning despite its subject matter ‘you see I'm close to the edge, I'm at the end of my rope, the rope is starting to thread, I'm trying to keep my hold’ confesses Mimi before pleading ‘If I could just make it stop’. Elsewhere acoustic guitars hide out in amongst the harmonies, shuffles and handclaps and when Mimi isn’t taking lead vocal she compliments Alan perfectly. Of course this being Low and Jeff there is still some experimentation to be had, the belting keys and fuzzed up guitars in ‘On My Own’ with its ‘Happy Birthday’ refrain for example. But for me the stand out track has to be ‘Clarence White’ a lament to the awesome beauty and destructive power of nature, gospel tinged it rumbles along at a faultless pace as Alan sings ‘You think it’s pretty, but I am a raging river, I’ll cut through your city, just like destroying angels’ for something so stripped back it has real power. And that is what makes these eleven compositions so special, laid bare and raw; you can see just how good a band Low are. Celebrating their 20th anniversary with Tweedy at the helm was definitely the right thing to do and as you will hear the results speak for themselves. Full Review »
  3. Mar 29, 2013
    10
    A perfect 20th anniversary present to all of us mature romantics who love the beautiful harmonies that Alan and Mimi bring to us when the twilight hour seems the most comforting. Full Review »