Two Ears Listening to Two Hands


Courtesy of the artist

Michael Buishas

Briley Simpson, Staff Writer

The past is a place many of us visit quite often. We find ourselves constantly thinking about then instead of now. We go back and reminisce about the good times we’ve had, as well as some of the bad. That sense of nostalgia is what makes Big Thief’s new album “Two Hands” so appealing. With it’s breathy, melancholic sound, the songs in the album capture what it’s like to miss the past. 

Lead vocalist and songwriter, Adrianne Lenker, formed the band the day after she met Buck Meek, guitarist. It was just the two of them until Lenker attended Berklee’s five-week program where she met bass player Max Oleartchik and drummer James Krivchenia. Together, with the help of their producer Andre Sarlo, the band released four studio albums. Their first album, “Masterpiece,” was released in 2016 and received  many positive reviews. “Two Hands” is the band’s latest album. It was released in 2019 shortly after Big Thief released its third album, “U.F.O.F.” 

Big Thief is an American indie rock band like Twin Peaks, Cage the Elephant, and The Lumineers. Their songs make you feel like you’re the star in your own coming-of-age movie. Big Thief’s music exudes definite main character vibes. The music is live and raw, but it’s the lyrics that set it apart. Lenker’s lyrics are so incredibly understanding. In their song “Those Girls,” she talks about how a love shared between two people is stronger than anything you may face in the world. As long as that one person is there, you can get through anything. Those girls might hear me crying / The one, the only jealousy I have is dying / With all along your arms around me, try.” Lenker said in an interview with The Height’s that her writing makes her vulnerable and that she hasn’t felt comfortable sharing some of these songs with people until now. 

Songs like “Wolf,” “Replaced,” and “Cut My Hair” all demonstrate the desolate feeling of missing someone. “Has the feeling come to pass? / Has the feeling come to stay? /  What can we say? / Wishing you would hang around,” Adrianne sings in the song “Wolf.” The songs are like attempts to remember what once was, and there is a sense of longing I believe everyone can relate to. On the other hand, songs like The Toy shows more of what it is like to remember happy times. “What a fool, familiar dream / I wake up laughing and running.” The songs all sound like a hug, like a warm embrace letting you know everything will be okay. Adrianne’s voice adds to the effect of the songs. Her voice is breathy, and it’s almost like she is whispering the song lyrics right next to you. The intimacy and closeness of her voice lets the listener feel like she is singing for them, not just to them. 

Big Thief’s songs understand what it is like to be human. To feel sad, happy, lonely, or nostalgic. Everyone can find a little piece of themselves inside the beautifully crafted lyrics. With music so real and lyrics that truly encompass what it means to to feel, Big Thief is definitely a brilliant and talented band.