20 November 2019 | Blog

November 20 – November 26

Mere months after releasing their third and possibly strongest album to date: U.F.O.F, 2019’s quintessential Indie band Big Thief, have doubled down on their success and released their incredible second album for the year, Two Hands. Adrianne Lenker, the lead singer, guitarist and writer of the band has lived a thoroughly interesting, often fraught life; born in Indianapolis into a religious cult, Lenker and her family went on to live out of a van after they eventually left the cult. At the age of 8, Adrianne wrote her first song with her father’s guitar and just 5 years later released her first solo album.

While U.F.O.F was a much more stripped back, acoustic orientated album, very reminiscent of Lenker’s solo work, Two Hands features a much thicker texture and heavier, grungier moments on cuts like Shoulders and Not. The albums serve as companion pieces, the earlier release considered the ‘Celestial Twin’ and Two Hands being the ‘Earth Twin’; because it was recorded 30 miles west of El Paso in the arid desert, a complete contrast from the verdant, woodland setting of western Washington on U.F.O.F. As the opening track Rock and Sing starts it’s hard not to quickly and utterly be enamoured of Lenker’s unique, stunning vocal style and her personal, distinctive storytelling; she has a way of making the listener feel like they know who she is singing about, like you’ve lived their lives.

The album is full to the brim with beautiful stories referencing Lenker’s personal struggles and triumphs, as well as various social issues like homelessness on Forgotten Eyes and gun violence on The Toy. The title track Two Hands features a flourishing, lush guitar riff throughout the entirety of the song as well as incorporating a fun, quirky synth line and is an excellent example of Adrianne’s vast vocal range as she delivers a falsetto masterpiece. The album reaches what is seemingly an emotional climax on the tracks Shoulders and Not, the guitar tones become distorted, the vocals get angrier, and the lyrics touch on some of the most demanding subject matter the album has featured; as Adrianne growls “The blood, of the man, who’s killing our mother with his hands” on the former, and “it’s not the hunger revealing” on the latter, it’s exceedingly difficult not to feel a chill run down your spine.

Not was also the lead single for the album and a song the band has been touring for years prior to its release, featuring angry vocals and a powerful, three minute solo, it’s easy to see why this song is a fan favourite. After those two tracks, the album settles back down into a much more sombre state, as the final three songs: Wolf, Replaced, and Cut My Hair close out the band’s second amazing album of 2019. With Matt Berninger of The National covering Not at a live show recently, Big Thief are receiving more well deserved praise and attention than ever and are on their way to being one of the biggest bands in the world right now, long live Big Thief, long live Adrianne Lenker.