Reviews

Adrianne Lenker
songs and instrumentals

(4AD)

9/10

When their tour was cut short in March, Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker drove out to the Massachusetts mountains and rented a one-room cabin. Isolated at the height of lockdown, Lenker began to feel a connection with the cabin itself; the way sound reverberated within its walls like the inside of an acoustic guitar. It was there that she penned and recorded songs and instrumentals, a duo of tender, meandering solo creations that capture the feeling of their birthplace.

songs comprises eleven melodic ballads crafted of just Lenker’s vocals and an acoustic guitar, while instrumentals is a collage of the ritualistic improvisation that took place during the recording process to mark the end of each day. The lyrics conjure fragmented memories that seem to flicker past like an old photo slideshow – a vicious dog bite, a rusty swing, a lifeless horse in a barn. Lenker keeps the music grounded in that cabin, turning the comfort and healing she found in that space into music.

Her songs feel age-old, with a haunting serenity. The talent she possesses is something so special and rare that it feels wrong to reduce it to a simple review. On these latest releases, Adrianne Lenker’s songs seem to effortlessly flow out of her, suggesting even better things are yet to come.

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