Big Thief’s second 2019 album ‘Two Hands’ is a raw and emotive masterpiece

Big Thief’s second 2019 album ‘Two Hands’ is a raw and emotive masterpiece

Words by Kate Streader

The emotive rockers have done it again.

Just months after the release of their third album U.F.O.F., Big Thief return with Two Hands. Written as a sister to U.F.O.F., the sonic ties between the pair are plain to hear, however, Two Hands stands as more of an amalgamation of everything Big Thief have done yet than a two-part project.

Where Big Thief’s first two albums, Masterpiece (2016) and Capacity (2017), were largely centred on droning feedback and dense electric riffs, acoustic melodies served as the foundation for U.F.O.F. which danced on the fringes of folk-rock.

Two Hands marries these two vastly different sounds, coalescing bright, glimmering soundscapes with drawling elegies.

Where the likes of ‘Not’ introduce sprawling clangs of guitar and jagged, raw vocals that harken to the band’s early work, elsewhere acoustic instruments take the fore; such as ‘Wolf’ with its softly strummed melody mirroring Adrianne Lenker’s gentle coos.

‘Shoulders’ feels as though it is a continuation of Masterpiece’s ‘Real Love’, reflecting on the abuse Lenker’s father inflicted on her mother; “And the blood of the man who’s killing our mother with his hands/Is in me/It’s in me/In my veins”, she wails.

With Two Hands, we see a band who have truly come into themselves, now stretching their feelers are far as they’ll reach in order to uncover any sound yet unexplored. Intricate and intimate, Two Hands proves Big Thief are just getting started.