This music was recorded 30 Miles west of El Paso, surrounded by 3,000 acres of pecan orchards, but the players were mere inches from each other. Big Thief is Adrianne Lenker, Buck Meek, Max Oleartchik, and James Krivchenia, and Two Hands is their most important collection of songs yet. Released a mere 5 months after the cosmic and mysterious U.F.O.F., Two Hands is as parched as the Roswell desert. The record is ultimately about the earth and the very real dangers to it that seem to increase by the day. “Two Hands has the songs that I’m the most proud of; I can imagine myself singing them when I’m old,” says Lenker, “Musically and lyrically, you can’t break it down much further than this. It’s already bare-bones.” Dom Monks and Andrew Sarlo return as producers, but mainly focus on an honest documentation of the sounds made live in the studio. “Forgotten Eyes” demonstrates the neat soundstage, Lenker’s live-take vocals shimmering and crackling alike. “Two Hands” begins with intertwined guitar and shuffling percussion that is later cut through with thick slabs of bass and perfectly integrated acoustic flourishes. “Not” is more foreboding, a slinky bassline and harrowing vocals barrel towards dueling guitar solos as the song ramps up, then burns out to amp buzz.
- black vinyl pressing
- housed in gatefold sleeve
- digital download included
- music label: 4AD 2019
reviewed by STAN RIDGEWAY 09/2019