Also known as Big Thief’s frontwoman, Adrianne Lenker is also a productive solo songwriter, and has released an album per year since 2013. However, this new record sounds like the product of a much longer time span, even despite its sparseness. But this is only recalling a new aesthetic canon for Adrianne, which is a pretty “mature” blend of classical (from Alela Diane to Joni Mitchell, as leading track ‘terminal paradise’ shows) and 90s-tinged acoustic songwriting (scents of Kozelek, Elliott Smith and the Innocence Mission can be discerned).
Compared with her previous solo effort, the lighter and more melodic Hours Were The Birds, abysskiss is a much more emotional and passionate effort, rotating around simpler, lullaby-like compositions such as ‘what can you say’, but also obsessive patterns like in ‘symbol’. Or both, like in ‘blue and red horses’.
It all sounds like a giant leap in Adrianne’s songwriting palette, highlighted here by very dry, subdued arrangements, in which her fingerpicking is left to roam about, often in multiple paths (‘cradle’).
It has probably been since Sufjan Stevens’ Carrie & Lowell that a comparable album, in terms of personal and emotional content, has surfaced into the music world, and this is the league abysskiss plays in, undoubtedly.
Words: Lorenzo Righetto