Adrianne Lenker (of Big Thief) makes quietly unassuming folk filled with abstraction.

Her emotional melodies throb instead of afflict sharp pangs that more lyrically direct material would be inclined to incise. Alliterative, adroit, and often internally rhymed, her writing give a distinctive elliptical quality that gently beckons you into the labyrinth to discern details as you see fit. Across abysskiss, Lenker’s latest solo record, her deliberately quiet voice is strengthened by finger-picked arpeggios. On “symbol,” a helix of a tune that otherwise reads calm sonically, Lenker articulates a fleeting urgency in the current underneath her lyrical assonance.

“The symbol of your love is time,” she slows down to repeat, giving a sense of reprieve in the middle of the swell. Still, even in this swirl, there’s security embedded with each tangible line that peers through.

Lenker knows that despite the perils that consistently arise, time binds us to comfort in the cyclical patterns we endure. “Do you not, do you not tell? That smile always makes me well,” repeats throughout, before acknowledging “the symbol of your love is time.”
That knowing is there — in a gaze or a shrouded smile.

Lenker plays Swedish American Music Hall on Wednesday, February 6. Luke Owens (Here We Go Magic) opens.

Adrianne Lenker, Luke Owens
Swedish American Hall
February 6, 2019