“symbol” By Adrianne Lenker Review
As the frontwoman of Big Thief, Adrianne Lenker excels at tart, ambiguous narratives—modest-sounding songs that feel like they are peeling back their own surfaces to reveal frightening depths before disappearing. As a solo artist, she hones this same skill in a smaller space. The solo finger-picked guitar on Lenker's “symbol,” the latest single from abysskiss, has what sounds like a little heart palpitation behind it, a slightly nervous thump that introduces a clammy note behind the placidity: a little disquiet behind the quiet. Her voice does a similar dance, weaving in between darkness and comfort, soothsaying and menace, all without raising above sotto voce. The lyrics hover just below the threshold of intelligibility so only individual words—”make way,” “infinity,” “enemy,” “face to face”—reach you, dreamlike and shorn of context, like scraps from a letter washed ashore. On the outro, she hums alongside her own guitar line, her voice tracings its outer edges, and the only thing you are sure of when she's wandered out of view is that you need her, badly, to return.