Receiving critical acclaim for their 2016 debut record Masterpiece, the band redefined the folk-rock genre with their infusions of lo-fi vocalisations and wistfully delicate guitar melodies.
Now, returning with a handful of new cuts in tow, the quartet are back with their most ambitious and length release to date. Coming in at just under two dozen tracks, Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You offers a momentous journey through the collective hive-mind of Big Thief. The LP steps away from their usual repertoire, offering a softer, more stripped-back approach to their musings, teetering on the edge of almost folk-rock.
Acting as a carefully created soundtrack of storytelling, the album brushes through crippling anxiety and focusses on toxic relationships, all the while remaining grounded in jangly guitar rhythms and sweet vocal intonations.
Opening with the laid-back essence of “Change”, we find the scene set with a humbly narrated tale of changes, from the mundanity of ageing to the significance of death, Adrianne Lenker’s vocals lend a poignance to the track that makes it almost impossible to veer from.
The band’s grounding in the paths of nature and life are found delicately intertwined throughout the EP. From focusing on the impeding uncertainty of the end on “Change”, to the frugality of ageing with “Time Escaping” and discussing funeral arrangements in “No Reason”, the group seem almost preoccupied with the concept of the morbid.
With “Little Things” we witness the band take a u-turn shift in pace, opting for a Fleetwood Mac-esque joviality encompassed by jangly rhythms and Nicks-inspired vocals, the cut explores exactly what it says on the tin. “The little things I like about you / How you say when you say what you do” delves into the intimacies uncovered during a toxic, romantic relationship, acting as an oxymoron for an obsessor.
At the halfway point, Big Thief emerge with the psychedelic-cum-electronic offering of “Blurred View”. Complete with distorted vocals and an unnerving percussive accompaniment, the cut marks a change in pace for the rest of the record. Immediately meeting us with the heavily-folk-infused “Red Moon”, Lenker romanticises on packing up and leaving town, as accompanying vocals add a delicate depth, in an almost conversation-piece.
Intoxicated with melancholy and loss, “Dried Roses” opts for focussing on the mundane tasks that get us through the everyday, where “Promise Is a Pendulum” ruminates on not feeling good enough for a partner, “I could never make a sparrow or a meteor shower / I could never make the earth turn”, and the inadequacy felt when not being able to offer what they want.
Closing with the discombobulate beginning of “Blue Lightning” before deep-diving straight into an old-country folk song, Big Thief wave goodbye with one final last-ditch attempt at re-envisioning the indie-folk scene.