When: Wed., Jan. 11, 9 p.m. 2017
Singer-songwriter Adrianne Lenker has assembled a sturdy, reliable group of musicians to flesh out her humble melodies and dusky delivery as Big Thief. At first blush last year’s Masterpiece (Saddle Creek) sounds as familiar and comforting as a favorite blanket, but Lenker’s voice has a way of creeping up you, infusing a multicolored splendor into the wag-along grooves efficiently if unspectacularly sketched out by guitarist (and longtime collaborator) Buck Meek, bassist Max Oleartchik, and drummer James Krivchenia. Lenker’s a keen observer of familiar relationships hurt by stasis or dysfunction as well as fresh ones spinning out on slicks of enthusiasm and fantasy (“You started to move from fact into fable,” she sings in “Lorraine”), both situations that repeatedly present hurdles to meaningful understandings between the parties involved. The marriage of music and words increases the power of Masterpiece exponentially—it's one of the most arresting rock albums of 2016.