Two albums released, one in the waiting, Big Thief have seen themselves grow from a small town cult band into one of the globe’s most important artists, and yet still they continue to stun their listeners.
The music industry doesn’t particularly lack folk orientated indie rock music, but with Big Thief and co. there is something genuinely unique.
Trying to put your finger on what that ‘something’ could be isn’t hard to find at all, perhaps it’s Adrienne Lenker’s glowing sense of honesty in her songwriting, the fragility in her voice, or , her upbringing in a cult with her Mother and Father, her relationship with fellow-band member Buck Meek, or even perhaps her damn right beautiful lyricism – she truly is unique.
At times throughout their first two full length attempts we see a songwriter being given a vehicle to channel all the genius she has locked away – it’s not what Adrienne Lenker brings to Big Thief, it’s what Big Thief gives Lenker. A voice. And my lord has she got one.
Their debut album, titled Masterpiece (confident, I know) released in 2016 chases the delicacy of youth and romance – “real love, real love makes your lungs black, real love is a heart-attack” she cries on Real Love a poignant tale of domestic violence all encased in an anthemic guitar riff and haunting drum loop – in the mean time managing to wonderfully encapsulate what Big Thief stand for – their way of conveying memories whether they be good or bad in an honest manner, in an industry so riddled with insincerity is refreshing.
The stand out song, Paul is stunning, every single second of it. A teasing drum beat, coated with Lenker’s vocals, she challenges the angst of young love “See, you’re gentle baby, I couldn’t stay, I would only bring you pain” exclaims the 27 year-old. Mature song writing is what has captured the attention of their listeners.
By the end of the 12 tracks, each containing sound bites of old recordings of the band as children playing with toys, I feel as if I know her life – or at least I feel a part of it. Almost as if we have just met on a bus and she has spilled her story out to me – this intimacy drags fans to just keep hitting that replay button, it is this addictiveness which begs the question, why does no-one know who they are?
Despite any mainstream TV appearances or exposure, they sell out shows across the world – an upcoming run of shows in the UK in May for example are on their way to being sold out, the Big Thief secret won’t last much longer. To celebrate the release of their new album U.F.O.F (the F for friend) Big Thief are having listening parties in Brazil, Mexico and Paris. Commenting on the upcoming LP Lenker was asked what the album is about, her response;
“If the nature of life is change and impermanence, I’d rather be uncomfortably awake in that truth than lost in denial. All my songs are about this.”
Since the release of Masterpiece, Big Thief have been analysed, wept to, danced to, critically applauded, imitated, hummed idly, and shouted out loud. They have soundtracked crowded restaurants, difficult conversations, cowboy bars in Brooklyn, yoga classes, romantic late-night drives and lonely bedrooms. Long – may this continue. U.F.O.F is out 3rd May 2019.