Two Saviors is a bit of a mystery, as is its creator Buck Meek. A country gentleman from Wimberly, Texas, Meek moved to Texas and released two solo EPs, meeting up with Adrianne Lenker and recording two additional EPs before expanding into a four-piece and becoming Big Thief. Needless to say, it’s been a bit of a wild ride but one that has developed into the mystery of his second solo album.
Recording with the same cast of characters that created Buck Meek two years ago, Meek and company have moved on from their character-driven narratives to something much more mysterious. There are layers to the lyrics, parts scan logically, while others setup almost like something from an alternative universe. Yet musically this collection plays out in a more straight-forward framework than scratchy, seat-of-the-pants arrangements of the first album.
The tales Meek tells exist in a netherworld based in reality, yet not always in the ways you would expect. The introduction to ‘Pareidolia’ is a relatively simple acoustic lick, yet the entrance of the entire band sends it down a country-tinged pathway, while the lyrics offer different visions. Pareidolia is defined as seeing things that aren’t there, like the visions you get when looking at clouds. Meek sings, “Pareidolia/ With your head upon my lap/ On the buffalo grass/ The clouds are moving fast/ Sidney, tell me what you see.” The visions that come after are in part ordinary yet move on to more and more extraordinary.
Other tales deal with a slightly more stable world, yet Meek finds curves and curlicues that charge songs in unexpected ways. The world of ‘Candle’ seems more ordinary and logical, yet it is imbued with a sense of paranoia that the slide guitar and piano undercut. The chorus creates a series of questions, “Did your eyes change? I remember them blue/ Or were they always hazel?/ Still the same face with a line or two/ The same love I always knew.” Yet the singer is beset with thoughts of being followed.
Images of swimming pools with turpentine exist in the same space as a single who claims he would do “anything for you”, on ‘Ham on White’. Such is the world of Buck Meek, but it’s not entirely unexpected since the album was recorded in summer heat of New Orleans, a place that is a world unto itself, unique and mysterious in its own right.
Yet at its heart, Two Saviors is a collection of songs that seems to hit all the right notes, creating a gentle countrified air that counters many of the mysteries found in the lyrics. Meek’s world is big enough for all the contradictions, because we all hand on to a series of contradictory thoughts and feelings. Buck Meek simply expresses the dichotomy that exists within all of us.