Adrianne Lenker, Abysskiss
By, Preston Quinn
Adrianne Lenker’s voice sounds like a secret. No matter what she is singing, her mumbling vocal technique makes any of her songs sound like she is providing the world with every little piece of her heart. Her new album, abysskiss, is an incredibly intimate collection of tracks that become more and more complex with each listen. There is only one song on the album that includes electric guitar. The song out of your mind opens with a riff that is present throughout the whole track and lurks over the carefully finger picked guitar while Lenker sings about getting hurt in a relationship. “She is not a dragon, but I’m afraid of her fire, my heart is a wagon, but I can’t push her desire,” she sings. Every other song is only accompanied by an acoustic guitar, Lenker’s voice, and an occasional piano. Tracks like cradle are imbued with intimacy. Her poetic lyrics about the characters in her songs are full of unease and love. They are both love sick and paranoid, her words constantly trying to navigate themselves through the maze of acoustic guitar, “Baby, you’re still too proud to come down, maybe I’m still too loud to hear, all the waves ascend and disappear.” The song symbol sounds like a mumbled dirge where Lenker only accentuates the most important words in her song. Pieces of lyrics pop in and pop out of the ear, “The symbol of your love is time.” This album is a watertight exercise in Lenker’s incredible ear for melody. Songs like blue and red horses and what can you say are extremely memorable because of Lenker’s performance. While each song sounds like more of the same, each listen is more and more rewarding because of her melodies on each chorus. 10 miles finishes the album off by continuing the hushed tone of the rest of the track list. It is a highlight for me on the album, her young characters now grown old, singing
about their children, the end of their lives, and their growing disconnection with each other, “Joel, nothing is real, but we still have that feel, you’re closing up the bar, and I’m warming up the car, ten miles away.” If you listen to anything that came out recently, let it be abysskiss. It is a very intimate, beautiful, and creative exercise in Lenker’s gift for melody and is a true highlight for new music releases.