Big Thief’s Buck Meek had big shoes to fill going into his new solo album ‘Two Saviors’; both of his band’s last albums received significant, universal acclaim, as did the recent solo project from his fellow bandmate Adrianne Lenker. If Buck Meek felt any pressure because of this, it doesn’t come across on this album; which is remarkably and, at times, even overly laidback. The songs on ‘Two Saviors’ feel effortless, care-free and first-thought-last-thought. At times, this leads to songs that fail to leave much of a mark – ‘Ham on White’ is nice enough, but it doesn’t leave you with much reason to revisit it once it’s over.
Perhaps that’s ‘Two Saviors’ biggest flaw – many of it’s song feel pleasant-enough, but unremarkable: they lack the emotional gut punch of recent indie albums like Phoebe Bridgers ‘Punisher’, Lomelda’s ‘Hannah’ or Snail Mail’s ‘Lush’.
Despite this, the album still has more going for it than may be obviously apparent: on ‘Second Sight’, Meek takes advantage of his stunning, transcendent falsetto, on ‘Candle’, he engages in some terrific word play (“When it’s too much to handle, burn me a candle / If you don’t have a candle, let me burn on your mind”) and captures what it’s like to reconnect with an old friend/partner only to find things distinctly different from how you remember (“Did your eyes change? I remember them blue / Or were they always hazel”). There’s also ‘Two Saviors’ – one of the more affecting tracks on the record – which acutely captures a sense of inner-turmoil and desperation (“Hold me, hold me / No, I need to be alone, to know my home / I know no home / But hold me, hold me”).
Then, of course, there’s album closer ‘Halo Light’ – a track so great it almost single-handedly makes up for any of the album’s other tracks’ shortcomings. What the rest of the album lacks in emotional devastation, ‘Halo Light’ has in droves. The track is centred around the mysterious ‘Heather’ – it’s unclear if Heather is a fictitious character or not, but the story-telling on ‘Halo Light’ is good enough to make every lyric on this song sound utterly true. The song begins with disarming honesty (“The halo light was humble / Our Heather died / But tomorrow, I’ll buy roses”). What really makes this song great is it’s heart-breaking depiction of every small detail of grief: down to it’s impact on your pets (“Oh, Jenny, why did you tell the horses?”), to the immeasurable sense of distance and separation felt (“I found the hole you climbed through / But it’s too small to follow with the flowers”), to the endurance of love even after the passing (“Our bodies left alone / All our love will stay”), all the way to the way you’re constantly reminded of the departed (“I thought I heard you humming / In broken tongues through the curtains”). The song is capable of bringing a tear to the eye of even the most hard hearted soul and stands as the best display of Meek’s talents to date.
Best Tracks: Halo Light, Dream Daughter, Two Saviors
Genre: Indie, Folk, Country