10 Songs, 39 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Released only five months after the equally great U.F.O.F., Two Hands makes a good case for Big Thief being the most interesting working band in indie rock. Delicate but powerful, simple but effortlessly innovative, the music here handles roots conventions—strummed acoustic guitars, bone-dry production, the quiver of singer-songwriter Adrianne Lenker, some dust in the eyes and grit in the teeth—as instruments of cosmic significance.

The feelings remain abstract (they’re feelings), but the world they grow in—tactile, woody, violent—is anything but. And so we hear the howling of wolves, feel the chill of scissors on the back of our neck during a haircut, witness the bare-handed murder of a mother (the climactic “Shoulders”). These are concrete events tied so deftly to the revelations they inspire that everything on the album—the touchable and the not—comes to thrum with life. Or, as Lenker sings on the open-road anthem “Forgotten Eyes,” “No crying, but it is no less a tear/On the common cheek with which we smile,” giving both Tom Petty and Emily Dickinson runs for their money in one American stroke. Or, a track later and a little closer to the point, “The toy in my hand is real” (“The Toy”). Sure enough. But not every band can make holding it seem so mysterious or profound.

Apple Digital Master

EDITORS’ NOTES

Released only five months after the equally great U.F.O.F., Two Hands makes a good case for Big Thief being the most interesting working band in indie rock. Delicate but powerful, simple but effortlessly innovative, the music here handles roots conventions—strummed acoustic guitars, bone-dry production, the quiver of singer-songwriter Adrianne Lenker, some dust in the eyes and grit in the teeth—as instruments of cosmic significance.

The feelings remain abstract (they’re feelings), but the world they grow in—tactile, woody, violent—is anything but. And so we hear the howling of wolves, feel the chill of scissors on the back of our neck during a haircut, witness the bare-handed murder of a mother (the climactic “Shoulders”). These are concrete events tied so deftly to the revelations they inspire that everything on the album—the touchable and the not—comes to thrum with life. Or, as Lenker sings on the open-road anthem “Forgotten Eyes,” “No crying, but it is no less a tear/On the common cheek with which we smile,” giving both Tom Petty and Emily Dickinson runs for their money in one American stroke. Or, a track later and a little closer to the point, “The toy in my hand is real” (“The Toy”). Sure enough. But not every band can make holding it seem so mysterious or profound.

Mastered for iTunes
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Ratings and Reviews

4.2 out of 5
23 Ratings

23 Ratings

Mr. Malcolms ,

Well Done!

Music, honest music, is worth your time and money. This is exactly that, honest music. Buck Meek, you are an inspiration of strange notes. Adrianne Lenker, your storytelling, poetry and voice are a gift to anyone with senses able to percieve them. Thank you all for what you do.

Bellabomb1 ,

Not sure if they know what they had and Lost

Shark smile had such power in its haunting lyrics, and a driving sound that had to be heard.
I can not find one song here that is anything like the beauty of Shark smile. I don't think they
know what they had and the possibiities. Because this direction just falls flat, and painfully so.

Kriss LZ ,

Just...meh.

I only recently discovered Big Thief when I heard Shark Bite from their second record, and loved it. I bought their first two records, and was impressed with both...I loved the ambient swagger of the music and the beautiful, haunting imagery of the lyrics and vocals, all of which were dripping with effects, and it worked. I was excited to see the new one come out, but honestly, I feel they've lost what made them great. Vocals are dry and all up-front, and Adrianne Lenker's voice just doesn't draw me in on this one. Sounds like an amateurish garage band work to me.

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