Reviews

Big Thief
Two Hands

(4AD)

9/10

Emerging from the wake of Big Thief’s third record, U.F.O.F, released only a few months ago, Two Hands is perhaps the band’s most cohesive and down-to-earth work yet.

Lead singer Adrianne Lenker conceives of the records as non-identical twins; one “celestial”, one of “earth”. The two serve to justify and contextualise each other, as well as to contrast – where U.F.O.F is hazy and dreamlike, Two Hands feels pure, tangible and raw. As ever the fragility of Lenker’s voice contrasts beautifully with the polished virtuosity of the instrumentation, creating a tension unique to the album and the band.

Two Hands is a musical treat, full of aching fervour; sincere and honest without feeling overwrought or affected. It sinks into the lullaby-like opening track ‘Rock and Sing’, followed by a soaring, uplifting ballad, ‘Forgotten Eyes’, on which Lenker implores, “Everybody needs someone and deserves protection”.

It all feels extremely considered, more a carefully put together selection than a showcase of the newest music. The climax is reached midway with ‘Shoulders’ and ‘Not’, both of which have appeared in live sets for the past couple of years, finally finding their home on this record.

Two Hands has the songs that I’m the most proud of,” says Lenker in a statement. “I can imagine myself singing them when I’m old.” It devastates and uplifts in equal measure, a testament to how a band can explore new ideas and styles without losing their distinctive sound.

Support Loud And Quiet from £3 per month and we'll post you our next 9 magazines

As all of us are constantly reminded, it’s getting harder for independent publishers to stay in business, which applies to Loud And Quiet more now than ever, 14 years after we first started printing a magazine that we’ve always given away for free.

Having thought about the best way to support our running costs (the printing and distribution fees, the podcast and production costs etc.) we’d like to ask our readers who really enjoy what we do to subscribe to our next 9 issues over the next 12 months. The cheapest we can afford to do this for works out at £3 per month for UK subscribers, charged yearly.

If that seems like a bit of a punt, you can pay-as-you-go for £4 per month and cancel any time you like. European and world plans are available too, at the lowest rate we can afford.

It’s not just a donation – you’ll receive a physical copy of our magazine through your door and some extra perks detailed on our subscribe page. Digital subscriptions are available worldwide for £15 per year. We hope you consider this a good deal and the best way to keep Loud And Quiet in your life without its content, independence or existence suffering.