I think everybody had it very clear that, to be the new Wilco, Big Thief had to be more than Adrianne Lenker – even though someone might doubt this statement after hearing the solo and band versions of her songs. It is true that it is becoming more and more difficult to disentangle Big Thief’s production from Lenker’s, and this new Two Saviors might serve just as that.
Meek’s songwriting is a lot more standard than his former wife, a reasonably comfortable Americana sliding into country (“Cannonball Pt. 2”), with strongly outlined arrangements (“Ham On White”). Quite a stark counterbalance to Lenker’s evasive but more deeply emotional music.
Two Saviors has indeed a soothing quality, as much as an album as UFOF is destabilizing, at times. The quiet lullabies in the album (“Two Moons”, “Pocketknife” and so on) are more or less the music equivalent of having a good cup of tea in a snowy afternoon, so there is indeed some value in that.
Nevertheless, it’s dubious that this album will gather the same accolade of its band counterpart, as it never quite rises above much of the other (alt-)Americana scenesters.