- 11 Feb 22
Epic double album from quartet captures the good, the bad and the weird
One criticism levelled at Big Thief in the past is that they sometimes switch genres wilfully from album to album, which can frustrate listeners immensely. This time around, the quartet spent five months in four different studios, letting every facet of their sound run free, emerging with 45 completed songs, whittled down to a mere 20 for this sprawling double-album.
When the mood takes them, Big Thief deliver confessional alt-pop/rock with the potential to become the natural heirs to Automatic-era REM. The opening ‘Change’ is a perfect example. Beautiful and immediately arresting, it almost requires you to stop whatever you’re doing, and really listen to this disarmingly simple, pared-back arrangement and achingly gorgeous vocal. Also fitting into this category are the country-tinged ‘Certainty’; the rich and warm ‘Sparrow’; the quietly insistent ‘Wake Me Up To Drive’; and the tender ‘Promise Is A Pendulum’.
Twain’s Mat Davidson adds some Nashville fiddle to ‘Red Moon’ and ‘Dried Roses’, while ‘Spud Infinity’ sounds as down-home as you can get, complete with bullfrog percussion, as they touch up their bluegrass roots. ‘Blurred View’ and ‘No Reason’ display left-field indie leanings, but are no less beautiful for that, while the cacophonic rhythm of ‘Time Escaping’, the quietly chaotic ‘Love, Love, Love’, and the psychedelic fugue of ‘Flower Of Blood’ showcase their more experimental side.
Overall, a fantastic listen.