Taking a break is not on Big Thief‘s agenda. The indie rock/folk band released their third album, U.F.O.F., in May. After completing the album, the band set out to work on its follow-up. Following the U.F.O.F. sessions, the band moved to about 30 miles west of El Paso, to Sonic Ranch studio, where they recorded Two Hands. Out on October 11th, Two Hands is the Adrianne Lenker-led band’s fourth record and second to be released in 2019. In support of their 2019 albums, Big Thief are heading out on a North American Tour this fall. They will play Union Transfer on Saturday, November 9th.
Despite being released less than six months apart, Big Thief’s 2019 albums are opposites in many ways. The two records are fraternal twins; The band regards U.F.O.F. as the celestial twin and Two Hands as the earth twin. Where U.F.O.F. embraced the spacious and mysterious, Two Hands sees the band grounding themselves. The former was recorded in the misty woods of Washington State and the latter in the crackling desert of Southern Texas. U.F.O.F. is centered around distinct layers of instrumentation and production, while Two Hands was recorded live, in close quarters, and without any overdub. Two Hands reflects its birthplace as its lyrics explore the grit of the earth and her bones beneath the surface. On the album, Lenker said the following:
“Two Hands has the songs that I’m the most proud of; I can imagine myself singing them when I’m old. Musically and lyrically, you can’t break it down much further than this. It’s already bare-bones.”
“Not”, the album’s first single, reflects the rawness and dryness of the complete project. The band sounds cramped together. The instruments bleed into one another, making you feel like you’re watching a live performance and not listening to a studio track. It is rough, yet there is no better way for the band to have executed it. Lenker sings live on the track and allows her voice to sound strained and vulnerable. Two-thirds through the six-minute song, her voice disappears and the band shows off their musical coordination. Like always, Big Thief sounds united, exciting, and beautiful.
Listen to “Not” below. Big Thief plays Union Transfer with Palehound on November 11th. Find tickets and more information on the XPN Concert Calendar. One dollar from each ticket sold will go to Little Kids Rock and Youth Speaks.
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