#1 Album of the Month - October 2018
This is the debut solo album from Adrianne Lenker, lead vocalist of Big Thief. It’s culled from songs written in snatched moments on the relentless Big Thief tour schedule. Recorded in a studio with Luke Temple of Here We Go Magic it’s 10 songs of dreamy wonder.
Plucked, caressed and stroked silvery guitar strings flutter and quiver under flurrying fingers. Reflective, crooning vocals fall like a lullaby from a gentle folky lilting swaying singer. Simple and unadorned cascading arpeggios of sweet guitar notes and rippling piano. The occasional bluesy flutters and murmuring melodies support a wistful fragility.
Adrianne Lenker has been writing songs since she was 10 years old. Her "back story" has been well documented in various interviews and profiles for Big Thief over the last 3 years. Despite, or more likely because of the constant touring and studio work, the last few years have been some of the most prolific for Lenker as a writer. Songs pop out at soundcheck. They pop out on late night drives between cities. They pop out in green rooms, hotel stairwells, gardens, and kitchens around the world. In the hands of Lenker songwriting is not an old dead craft. It is alive. It is vital. With little regard for standard album cycle practice or the idea of resting at all, Lenker set out to make a document. Songs can be slippery and following a 2+ years on the road with Big Thief, Lenker felt a growing need to document this particular time in her life in an intimate, immediate way.
The result is her new album, Abysskiss. "I want to archive the songs in their original forms every few years," explains Lenker. "My first solo record I made was Hours Were the Birds. I had just turned 21 and moved to New York City where I was sleeping in a warehouse, working in a restaurant and photographing pigeons. Now five years later, another skin is being shed." Following a two week road trip through the southwestern United States, Lenker headed into the studio with longtime friend Luke Temple. Temple put on his loosely fitting, bright orange, 100% wool producer hat and for one week they made music. The songs chosen for this collection were the songs that felt the most alive in the room. These are not castaways or B-sides. Some of these songs have been alive for years while some were written just days before the session. Some will appear in different future forms, some will not. The thread that connects these songs is not something that can easily be put down in words. Intuition connects these songs. They are a record of a time. With this collection, Lenker further illuminates to the listening public what those close to her already know; here we have a songwriter of the highest order, following her voice and the greater Voices that pass through her with an unflinching openness and clarity of translation.