Big Thief is essentially one of those bands. A band where the sum of their parts are just as impressive as the group itself. After dropping an album earlier this year, the Brooklyn four piece has already returned with a second full length. In many ways, Two Hands is stronger than its magnificent predecessor. In the moment and very tender, the album is full of songs from a band who is firing on all cylinders.
Where the album shines is in how organic and earthy it feels. Some bands can’t get to that level where they just release top tier songs when they reconvene as a group. That doesn’t seem to be an issue for Big Thief here. The whole release plays out simply and comes off as an album that is what occurs when these four get together. The opener “Rock and Sing” has this note of a lullaby. Simple and free, it lays the groundwork for the even tempered notes that will follow.
Where “Forgotten Eyes” follows with an up tempo and fuller band sound, the magic is already there. The vibe is set and the third song “The Toy” gives way to graces of Adrianne Lenker’s gentle touched voice mixed with Buck Meek’s meandering notes. The song sounds like a tale from yonder times, and keeps with the folk affected tones. “Those Girls” offers more of this sentiment, staying with the biological sound of the release.
But as tender as the songs appear, there are still plenty of rockers here. The difference in how they’re represented comes with how Lenker approaches the vocals. “Shoulders” has all the making of an indie rock jam, yet Lenker’s voice keeps its tone closer to a slow burn. It’s a masterful approach that lends itself to a better explosive note when she lets go. “Not” represents this well, as does “Replaced” though the biggest stand out here comes with “Wolf.” The album is stocked with songs that mix indie rock and gentle folk with ease, yet “Wolf” brings them both together in the best way. The way the opening takes its time to get going, or how Lenker’s vocals dance in unison with Meek’s playing is extraordinary. There are few times you can write that a band is at the top of their game, but with Two Hands it’s obvious in that it’s exactly where Big Thief is.
Two Hands is available to stream on all platforms and it can be purchased digitally from all online music stores. It’s also available physically directly from 4AD Records. Big Thief is on tour starting tomorrow in Montreal, Canada at La Tulipe until May 08 in Osaka, Japan at Shangri-La. The band’s complete tour schedule is accessible here.
Image Credits: Photo by Michael Buishas.