Adrianne Lenker – Bright Future

Adrianne Lenker's latest solo record Bright Future is raw, unvarnished, and painted in plentiful colour

Album Review by Tom Johnson | 18 Mar 2024
  • Adrianne Lenker
Album title: Bright Future
Artist: Adrianne Lenker
Label: 4AD
Release date: 22 Mar

Bright Future’s opening track could quite easily be its last. A minimal ballad, Real House lingers for six minutes of tender storytelling – and it feels almost unfathomable that it opens the record, such is its overwhelming weight. It’s a remarkable song, full of the wit and wisdom we associate with Lenker’s work fronting Big Thief. As an introduction, it threatens to overshadow all that follows but, thankfully, we’re in the palm of one of the great songwriters, and so Bright Future provides exactly that: a run of songs that captivates in plentiful colour.

With co-production from Philip Weinrobe, alongside three collaborators – Mat Davidson (Twain), Nick Hakim, and Josefin Runsteen – it wasn’t initially meant to be an album. Such was the strength of the recordings they carved out of the cherry wood, 150-year-old room they played in, Bright Future was seen through to its completion.

Such energy is captured beautifully; daylight seeps in, floorboards creak. It’s raw and unvarnished and all the better for it. Sadness As a Gift and Vampire Empire swoop with warm country-rock bluster, but it’s the quieter moments that define the record. Evol is breathless simplicity, while the closing one-two of Donut Seam and Ruined balance the scales, a powerful reminder that there are few who do it better.

Listen to: Real House, Donut Seam, Ruined