(Keeled Scales Records)
One of the first great LPs of this young and still exciting and not at all yet disillusioning year is Two Saviours the second release from Big Thief guitarist, Buck Meek, out on January 15th from Keeled Scales Records.
Buck Meek and Adrianne Lenker make the most perfect musical foils in Big Thief, his playing and singing, and quite notable head and body movements, his dedication to unearthing interesting guitars, his understated and unique lines of sometimes subdued attack, make him for me, the perfect indie-rock guitarist.
There’s a great story about the recording of Two Saviours that I am just going to purloin from the press release as they have put it so succinctly that I can’t be bothered to better it...
Two Saviours was produced by Andrew Sarlo (who'd previously produced the first four Big Thief LPs), under his specific conditions: they make the album in New Orleans, during the hottest part of the year, in seven days, all live, on an 8-track tape machine not allowing the players to hear back any takes until the final day.
The band, features Adam Brisbin (guitar), Mat Davidson (bass, pedal steel, fiddle), Austin Vaughn (drums), and Buck’s brother Dylan Meek (piano, organ) set up in a Victorian house one block from the Mississippi River and met teh challenge, encouraging every recording to be imbued with the living, intuitive, and human energy of a first take. They didn’t listen to the recordings until they were all done, on the seventh day.
The songs emerge as cathartic, naked confessions of heartbreak, resiliency, and enchantment. There is much pain, much work and much healing.
Buck optimistically says, “The value in our world is built by the labour of love - a currency that accrues no debt, enriching both the giver and receiver, this wealth provides the vitality needed to lift a hammer, to raise a roof, and to lay upon the eaves in silent awe of nature and civilization and the culmination of universal effort. Magic (the left hand of love?) arises from attention, and is accessible to all without prejudice. A creation from nothing, from some uncaused cause, some eternal unmoved mover."
An earlier track from the album, Paredolia, discusses our inherent ability to see something where there is nothing. Claire Danes in the clouds, Jesus in jacket potatoes, Frankie Boyle in fried eggs… the girl from the corner shop in your arms... Beautiful.
The first video from the album sees the band recording in their Victorian digs. You can see the heat. The single, ‘Candle’, co-written with Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker, is a beautiful, languid stroll through country and steel infused melancholy. I’m a big fan of Buck’s singing though and throughout the record his affective vocal stylings are the coolest...
Two Saviours, is beautifully aching, achingly beautiful all over.