Adrianne Lenker, “abysskiss”

Adrianne Lenker
abysskiss
SADDLE CREEK
8/10

Even while spending the better part of the past two years touring with her band Big Thief, Adrianne Lenker committed the majority of her free time—in green rooms, hotels, and on late night drives—to refining her craft. Recorded with Luke Temple of Here We Go Magic, the tracks that make up her solo album abysskiss resonate with a newfound sense of purpose, exuding warmth and offering an understated reverence for the human condition. Lenker’s intimate storytelling has always ruminated on the little moments in life, and in an interview with Stereogum, she described the new album as “something like this bridge between the infinite and the finite and the mystery and the abyss of complete wonder.”

Accompanied by fingerpicked guitar with the occasional flourish of piano and synths, Lenker’s distinctive voice cuts right through the album’s delicate textures. It’s these haunting vocal acrobatics that linger with you long after the album is done—the ways in which she is able to pour her heart into each line, and most importantly, her nimbleness in articulating cadences. On Big Thief’s Capacity highlight “Mary,” Lenker’s words effortlessly toppled into one another, stimulating a disorienting euphoria. The same happens on abysskiss, her buoyant voice now saturated in an inconsolable sorrow and deafening loneliness.

Lenker’s mastery of this kind of auditory hypnosis is put to best use on “from” and “symbol,” tracks where phrases are repeated until they turn into mantras, twisting and turning each syllable until they shake and rattle and swallow everything around them. Every word is deliberately strung together, even the pauses and silence carrying weight—attempting to pick them apart would be like taking away a piece of the puzzle. 

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