Analogue Music | Tow'rs - The Great Minimum
The Great Minimum

The Great Minimum

Artist: Tow'rs · Written by Maria Edwards

Date Released

15 June, 2015




35 minutes

I’ve been trying to write about Tow’rs since I first heard The Great Minimum during my Junior year of college.

Every time I would sit to try and organize my tumbling thoughts, I would feel an impending sense of doubt at my own ability to convey the power of Tow’rs. I use the word “power” deliberately and with the full meaning of what it implies. The songs, their lyrics and their instruments, have had an overwhelming effect on my life.  My writing had to contain enough substance so the lofty ideas wouldn’t get lost in the air of big words and strung out phrases. But my language also had to permit the reader to grasp the ambiguous themes that set Tow’rs apart from every other band I’ve ever heard.

The album specializes in quiet theological revelations woven within phantom violins, guitars and charming voices. Although Tow’rs has since released another album, Grey Fidelity, The Great Minimum still needs a moment or two of proper attention for the fearlessness with which the band approaches their subject.

The Great Minimum is clean and crisp with an impressive spectrum of both instrumental talent and deeply metaphorical language. Each line is a surface layer covering an ocean of philosophical pondering, begging the listener to dive deeper and think harder about the problems of pain and life’s joys.  Theological subtext pervades each track, providing subject matter most artists dare not explore due to fear and lack of understanding. However, the members of Tow’rs somehow manage to melodically unravel the immeasurable power and control of God without trembling or stumbling. Their resonance and steady control of emotions seem to hone in on the universal doubts and hopes that often unite splintered factions.

The fourth track, “Mindful,” is the outstanding piece on The Great Minimum. The entire track is an open prayer to God, composed using the most colorful and thought-laden lyrics: “How ignorant of man to simply think/ we can control the storm with pen and ink.” “Mindful” is as humbling as it is revealing of humanity’s intimate connection with the Creator. Questions are raised without the expectation of an answer but rather with the understanding that faith and trust are all that is required of a believer: “Who are we that you are mindful of us? Guess that’s the part we just have to try and trust.”

As if to remind the listener of the extensive range of talent, the instrumental track, “Solace”, is placed just after the halfway mark in the album.  The piece opens with a few gentle guitar notes that are strummed out and then leads into an emerging, forlorn violin. Once everything has quietly gathered together, there’s a waiting beat before guitars, violins, drums, and cymbals crash back together through a measured cacophony. Like waves returning to shore after their momentary absence, the bravado of the instruments releases pent up suspense. The track ends just as it began, with quiet receding guitar chords that linger in the air long after they’ve gone silent.

The power of this concise album lies in its unrelenting composure in the face of uncertainty.  At first, it’s baffling how often mournfulness and hope are juxtaposed throughout The Great Minimum to create such respected honesty. But then, after one or two more listens, it becomes apparent that from their vulnerability stems the courage to discuss these thoughts with unrestrained honesty.  It’s not an album that creates negative friction between contradicting ideas and emotions, but it’s instead a look into the ever-present thought processes of those who are simply coming to terms with the unknown and infinite. “Two Sparrows,” “Helm,” and “Circles” each represent this impressive display of comprehension and bring to life the silent thoughts of pessimism that most of us would prefer to ignore. 

Members of Tow’rs somehow manage to melodically unravel the immeasurable power and control of God without trembling or stumbling.

Each track on The Great Minimum showcases the same levels of patience and understanding that are normally reserved for much more experienced artists. Not that this pattern or expectation ever removes the originality from their songs. Rather, it’s as if each song is an experiment in and of itself, set against similar tracks with different outcomes. The result is the steady proclamation of truth that resonates and reverberates between my eardrums before settling deep within my head and heart.

There is no complacency in The Great Minimum. Ideas don’t settle quietly in a corner to collect dust. Having barely scratched the surface of all that Tow’rs has done and can do, all I can hope is that this sometimes scattered collection of thoughts can keep The Great Minimum alive and beating long past its release date.