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Low Lows rise for the Bright Sky 

Subject matter dips into the past, but heads for new horizons

On record, Parker Noon's voice echoes and bounces like a gloriously pained croon trying to find an ear. But when he speaks through a cell phone while driving through Athens, it just twangs with a peculiar East Coast accent. He moved to Athens from New York three years ago, shortly before parting ways with his longtime girlfriend and collaborator, Lily Wolfe. As Parker & Lily, the two made three dream-pop albums, including The Low Lows, a harrowing and starry-eyed document of their broken romance.

After the split, Noon formed a new group with musicians Daniel Rickard and Jeremy Wheatley. Recorded as the Low Lows, Fire on the Bright Sky is what Noon describes as a transitional effort. Wolfe plays organ and Rhodes piano on all the cuts, and even contributes a song, "Aquanaut." "We weren't sure if that album was going to be the fourth Parker & Lily album or if it was going to be the first Low Lows album," Noon says.

Fire on the Bright Sky is hazily nocturnal and lyrically barbed, and seems cast in shadows and sadness. But Noon points out that some of the songs are lovely numbers only slightly obscured by darkness. He compares "Poor Georgia" to Elizabethan love poetry. On that track he sings, "Poor Georgia girls/I know that we just met/But Jesus wept, Georgia."

"Most of the songs were written just in the months following me and Lil's breakup. So there's still some of that old norm. I think the second record gets much more redemptive," Noon says. He adds that he has a new girlfriend, and is as content as he's ever been in his life. "Now I'm careful. I think of writing songs that are purely happy," he says.

The Low Lows are currently wrapping up their second album, Little Tigers, for a February 2007 release. In a few weeks, the group will head into the studio to record its third album in less than a year. "It's sort of that lost time syndrome," Noon says. "It's kind of like being in a coma for five years. When you wake up and, all of a sudden, you're 30 years old, then you feel like you need to live life more quickly."

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