Big Thief – Two Hands
Big Thief return with the warm, direct and brilliant Two Hands, their second album of 2019
In The Skinny's Top Albums of 2019 So Far list published in June, Big Thief narrowly missed out on the top spot (to the admittedly equally worthy Solange) for their record U.F.O.F. Now in the second half of the year, we are faced with a dilemma. With the release of the Brooklyn indie-folk quartet's equally brilliant second album of the year, the self-proclaimed "spiritually linked" Two Hands, do we judge these albums individually or together? Could they usurp the younger Knowles sister and end up being numbers one and two by the end of the year? Because, in all honesty, that could be what we're dealing with.
Two Hands is the "earth twin" to U.F.O.F.'s "celestial" spirit and it shows. Recorded a few days after U.F.O.F, switching Washington State's dewy forests for the harsh, decaying desert of El Paso, we receive an album which is altogether warmer, sweatier, and more direct. Two Hands was recorded almost entirely live compared to U.F.O.F.'s multi-layered, highly constructed studio work, and the difference is palpable. The energy found on Shoulders and Not is unquenchable; on the latter track the band threaten to blow through your speakers, such is their presence.
However, on more intimate tracks such as Wolf and Cut My Hair, Adrienne Lenker displays once again how she is a once-in-a-lifetime treasure who must be cherished as long as she's in our presence leading her "family" band across the globe. Arguing which record between this and U.F.O.F. is better is pointless. They are two sides of the same sovereign coin, all it proves is 2019 is Big Thief's year.
Listen to: Not, Shoulders, Wolf