Lenker is violently vulnerable as she ever was. I can’t tell you how much I love this band. The pandemic clipped their touring wings, and as much we have been left waiting for life to come around again, they seem to have been desperate to get back to stealing the show once more.
The drummer, James Krivchenia, is doing his best Mick Fleetwood impression whilst being the most sympathetic percussionist I have heard recently. He ornaments instead of drives the beat, just fabulous musicality. Buck is Buck. I am not fond of his guitar work – he always seems to try a little too hard, and to be frank I would rather listen to Lenker play. It all seems a little too forced. Oleartchik, the bassist is solid as ever, and the engine of this band of thieves.
We all know who the real star of this band is – Lenker, her passion, her raw open vulnerability and towering honesty. She invites you into her soul, her pain, her longing, ripping it all bare. Her guitarwork is even more blistering, her voice is really getting an easy confidence that comes with time, and her songwriting, her songwriting. I almost feel sorry for Buck as she directs Black Diamonds right at him in some Stevie Nicks/Buckingham style revenge writing and performance. It is comparable to that painful rendition of Silver Springs where Stevie sings at Lindsay that the sound of her voice will haunt him.
Lenker’s voice haunts me: we are from different times and places, but I get where she is coming from and where she has been – these spaces are available to all of us, no matter which roads we travel towards them.
Listening to her I want to throw her a life-vest, I want to tell her I see her drowning not waving, and applaud her towering creativity that burns through the pain. In Black Diamonds she yowls and smiles, she knows she has got us by the heartstrings and somehow seems whole and healed just being back in the studio again.
The tour is going to not be coming out to San Francisco, otherwise virus be damned, I would be there. Tour dates can be found at https://bigthief.net/tour/
If you can go, from what I have seen this is one of those bands that perform the best versions of their songs live. They come alive, Lenker’s playfulness is recharged with audience interaction. I bet these will be some of the best dates of the year.