Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Adrianne Lenker extends her songwriting prime on the visceral Bright Future

"Bright Future"

Release date: 22 March 2024
Adrianne Lenker Bright Futures cover
21 March 2024, 09:00 Written by Noah Barker

Adrianne Lenker cannot love in good conscience without reminding herself the world is shortly ending and, statistically speaking, we’re all going to die, but she loves regardless.

Bright Future is not, in what I am sure will be a journalistic refrain heard around the world, a sarcastic title playing on the fact we have no future, something Lenker alludes to in every side street and alleyway the record has to offer. Instead, take it sincerely, as one should with all radical advice. From the opening tumbling of pianos to those same pianos coasting away the closer, Lenker is acutely aware of our shared, oncoming endpoint, but more importantly, its utter pointlessness. If Bright Future is to be believed, we are so very alive.

Lenker has been synthesizing her increasingly hard to pin mix of folk, country, and psychedelia in giant steps with every solo and band release; she’s a cartographer mapping out the crevasses and nooks of her sound, resting in a valley here with gentle acoustics and patient keys. “Real House” takes breathers in between each hammering of a key, with a Phil Elverum-esque melody fit to render your heart into mush. She talks about quite a bit, and nothing much at all; a childhood dream, her mother crying, birds flying, freedom. She throws the pieces up and doesn’t so much try to catch them as much as she’s content to see where they land.

“Real House” as an opener gives a direction and kill switch to the rest of the record, as each of the following tracks takes a straightforwardly poetic approach in dissecting modern love and its post-modern implications. Her opening thoughts were of simplicity and sadness in their least world-weary forms.

“Fool” is of the more gracious tracks present, as it lets the listener be mesmerized by its cyclical, angular finger-picking instead of paying full attention to its devastating lyrics. Lenker deftly understands she may have to dangle some keys just to keep us poor suckers off the edge. Even though it exists as one of Lenker’s most unfiltered and raw offerings from a production standpoint, the additions of strings, keys, atmospheres, and harmonies are a laid blanket, one that gets ripped off like Lucy moving the football before Charlie can kick it, but a blanket nonetheless.

Each time I play even a moment of this record back, my ears ring and hum and vibrate my head as if they’re rejecting another listen to its mad, sad glory. I try to convince them that the point isn’t the end of the world, but each moment in between; a kiss today is an assurance in case tomorrow never comes. You can try to get through to someone, that an end and a happy middle aren’t mutually exclusive, but you end up like Lenker: hopelessly in love and hoping that you keep getting the chance.

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