Written Before Listen
Big Thief is another one of those bands that I know the name of but never got into. That is until today when I listen to their new album “Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You”. I’ve heard good things about this album so I’m coming into this album with high expectations so without further ado, let’s get into it.
This album will have a place in the future of music, and the reason I say that is because of how eclectic it sounds. There’s barely any reverb on this entire record, it’s as dry as the album cover that’s portrayed, and I fucking love it. It gives the vibe of a late 60s classic rock album that goes all the way out there to be eclectic, but with a modern twist. The guitars are super raw, the violins give the vibe of a local bar and the electric instruments are extremely clean. I think for the vibe Big Thief was trying to give off, the production was perfect.
I’ve realized that Big Thief is a band that’s hard to identify. They might not be the first to blend elements of folk, rock, and country, but goddammit they do it so well. Alongside the usual indie folk music that this album, we get elements of psychedelic music, Americana, and much more. The song “Certainty” is the pure twangy country with a good scoop of 60s folk rock. The title track is a psychedelic folk track with a dreamy Aurora to it. The song “Little Things” is like a fusion of a jam band, John Cale era Velvet Underground and Jangle Pop, and I know it’s a cool combination, but the result is so hypnotic and trance-inducing its almost as psychedelic as a song like “Venus In Furs”. The song right after that is Big thief doing an electronic number with downtempo undertones and slight Portishead worship. A song like “No Reason” is a straight to the point folk tune while “Love Love Love” is pure Joplin worship. We also end with a heartwarming country song with so much twang that I can dip anything in it and it’ll taste good. Big Thief toggles with every nook and cranny on this album, and the best part about it is that they don’t venture outside of the mood.
With this being my introduction to Big Thief, I was bound to compare, and the first one I thought of was The Rolling Stones. Not the early Rolling Stones, more the Let It Bleed era. The reason I say that is because their raw blend of folk, country, and rock was similar to what The Stones were doing back then. The folkier tunes on the other hand reminded me of some Fleetwood Mac and some slight Joni Mitchell alongside a lot of Elliott Smith. You could also tell that each member enjoy The Beatles’ White Album a lot too. As you can tell, they take influences from older artists but their whole schtick is that they are just an indie band but god damn, they do it so well.
The songwriter of Big Thief is named Adrianne Lenker, and something about her songwriting is unique to me. It’s not the most relatable, or vivid. It’s pretty vague. She ventures on a certain topic and rather symbolizes it or makes you imagine. For example, a song like “Sparrow” is really about Adam & Eve but Lenker’s vagueness and simplicity towards the topic give you the ability to think. A song like “Little Things”, not only talks about the love of your romantic partner based on the little things, but it could also be resembling the songwriting of Lenker herself…HEY PAUL!!!
Well, I don’t know how often I will go back to this album. It definitely has a distinct mood to it unlike the albums they obviously took influence from, but nearly every song is great for that particular mood. That’s about it, It’s an album for a mood but other than that, this is probably the best double album I’ve had to review for this account.
Well, I’ve reviewed some damn good albums this year and this album is part of the collection. Both this and Black Country New Road’s album would probably end up in the top 5 of last year alongside the Simz album and Injury Reserve album (which Is not a 10 anymore…sorry.) We’ll just have to wait and see what the remainder of the year will bring.