Our Daily Bread 351: Big Thief ‘Two Hands’

October 29, 2019

Review
Gianluigi Marsibilio 



Big Thief ‘Two Hands’
LP/ 11th October 2019


U.F.O.F. introduced the Big Thief to a cosmic, celestial dimension, in which everything was quiet and melancholy static: it was like being in Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia. But with Two Hands, Big Thief instead return to a more earthly and frank dimension that, within a year, reaffirms the Brooklyn band and elevates the poetic universe of Adrianne Lenker.

Also, in this case, the voice of Big Thief is based on the delicate atmospheres that have the ability to transcend space and time. The delicacy of songs like ‘Wolf’ or ‘Forgotten Eyes’ is an important key to understanding an album that is the best proof of the band.

With Two Hands there is less DIY, a less crude construction, the search for sound starts first of all from a poetic dimension, from the need to narrate a story. The goal achieved is in the construction of a sound zone where Big Thief have become, not merely recognizable, but unique. The structure of the songs play on balances of sensitivity: the slight inputs of the xylophone, the melodic intersections, the rhythms that settle down and come to life between the words of the songs, are a very precise poetics of the band that now has a well-defined sound. The semantic field of the record is very clear and works with the themes of U.F.O.F., making them earthly, tangible. The idea that Two Hands is an earthly twin of the previous work is interesting and in focus. The sounds of Lenker’s guitar and voice build a rough anatomy of perceptions; everything can be touched and becomes extremely corporeal. The most abstract forms become clear when meeting Adrianne’s voice, a line like “The wolf is howling for me” actually becomes a symbol of this textual and poetic research.

Two Hands has the corporeity of a performance by Marina Abramovic, but also the noble crypticity of a live performance by Bon Iver. The lyrics are a bridge that crosses very wide poetic universes, Adrianne Lenker is like Walt Whitman in his Passage to India; there is a dimension of renewal, construction and humanity that unfolds throughout the work.

Two Hands is a gateway to a universe, which represents us and makes us feel good.




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