Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker released two solo albums on the same day, although they could easily been a full package as one. songs and instrumentals are precisely as they prep you for. Both out on 23rd October, via 4AD, songs and instrumentals deserve all the kind press and acclaim, one of the more genteel albums with beguiling delicacies I have heard this year.
As Amanda Petrusich observes in her deep searching New Yorker profile, “Lenker writes often about time and loss – how to cling to what we need and let go of everything else. For her, songwriting is a way of externalizing specific experiences or memories and pinning them in place, like a butterfly under glass.” If we disseminate each of her tracks it’s fair to say that Petrusich is onto something, and that just considers the thread across her LP. If we consider them all individually, there is something so much more to get from each.
The vinyl recording is 100% analog-analog-analog (AAA). No digital process was used in the production of this sound recording, and even the albums’ stunning covers are watercolour paintings by Adrianne’s grandmother, and I guess it is what gives this authentically traditional aesthetic to the albums.
songs consists of eleven formulaic tracks, stunningly acoustic with Adrianne’s quavering vocals, as Big Thief are renowned for. These are even more sentimental than we are used to from the full band, each a delicate delight that you are scared to touch too hard, or not give your full attention to. two reverse is a hauntingly intricate track, whereas anything is a real stand-out track with that pitch, and what feels like a mantra. heavy focus is a wonderful background track, over before you know it, whereas half return feels a little like a children’s nursery track to some degree. zombie girl is reflective and not at all how you would expect a track with this title and my angel is a stunning improvising-sounding single to conclude the album, exquisite yet so fragile.
instrumentals is 37 minutes worth of two tracks, the first of which is nothing short of epic. mostly chimes takes a moment or two until the chimes kick in but when they do it is on a par with the rest of the album, subtle and elegantly reserved.
songs and instrumentals are out now, via 4AD