Adrianne Lenker – Abysskiss – Album Review
Out 5 October 2018 on Saddle Creek
LIVE on 16 January 2019 at Button Factory, Dublin
While many may think this is Adrianne steeping away from Big Thief, there is actually nothing unusual in this album release and it is not the end of the band! She already has a large amount of solo work to her name alongside her work with Big Thief. She writes a considerable amount of music and decides afterwards what it is better suited for, the band or her solo repitore.
Adrianne is certainly an unusual character and had a very peculiar upbringing. Her parents were members of a cult when she was born and they spent the next few years trying to leave their religion. She travelled a lot during her childhood and lived in 14 houses before the age of 8. Her academic career was also quite loose and she never went to high school, instead focusing on music and her recording career, her Dad being her manager at this time. While it is hard to say her childhood directly affected her music, it certainly makes her the woman she is today!
Those familiar with Big Thief will be on safe ground with this album. From the opening song ‘Terminal Paradise’ you can hear her haunting vocals alongside some low key acoustic guitar. While it is a bit less embellished than much of her band’s work, it is definitely of a similar oeuvre. The odd flourish from a piano in the background is the only thing that alters the mood on this track.
‘Will you return me to the robin’s beak, I’ll be a bird’ – Terminal Paradise
The next song ‘from’ follows a similar vibe with plucked acoustic guitar and vocals almost whispered to draw the listener close. ‘Womb’ is an upbeat song that changes the speed of proceedings if not the arrangement. There are odd touches of backing vocals and a drone which almost consumes all later in the piece. ‘Out of your Mind’ introduces the first electric guitar, but never really lets it dominate.
Symbol is another upbeat tune with light percussion and more guitar in this melodic moment. Title track of sorts, abyss kiss is another in a simlar vibe, stripped to the bone guitar and vocals. Final track 10 Miles drifts in and never upsets this delicate vibe.
‘Like birds preying on skin
We prey with our oxygen’ – 10 Miles
The songs fall quickly from one to the next and it does all sound quite similar but there is something warming and gentle about it all. At some stage, she may have to leave this warm and comfortable sound she has found, but for the time being, it’s easy to enjoy it. A short and rewarding album for the long nights ahead.
Track List –
01. terminal paradise
04. out of your mind
07. blue and red horses
08. abyss kiss
09. what can you say
10. 10 miles