By Taylor Faber
It seems like it was yesterday when indie rock band Big Thief released their openly received third album, U.F.O.F. in May. They were able to push their folk oriented boundaries as they have been since forming in 2015 by adding elements of neo-psychedelia to complement Adrianne Lenker’s plush, honest songwriting. But wait, that’s not all the Big Thief gang have in store for this year. They followed their most recent release with their fourth album, Two Hands, released Oct. 4.
Many questions might come to mind such as, “Why release more material after dropping such a successful album?”, “Will it sound like U.F.O.F.?” or even, “Will Buck Meek (lead guitarist) play a larger role in their future work?” Regardless of what someone might ask, one could try to make an educated guess towards the potential sound and outcome of the new album.
A nice clue to prepare us for the new album takes place in their new single, “Not.” While the tracklist from top to bottom on U.F.O.F. represents an all-nighter spent stargazing, “Not” resembles time spent looking down at the rising sand after a long, grueling day on the ranch. Every aspect of their new single seems more present and in-the-moment compared to any song on their last album, as Lenker attempts to describe this unexplainable feeling she is enduring through.
It seems that they traded their dream-like ambiance for a rustic, gritty ballad of self-realization along with a more than intense multi-minute solo by Meek. It might make someone wonder how they could switch up their mind frame in such a short amount of time.
This switch in perspective turns out to be intentional according to Lenker. She states that they had intended to conjoin the two albums without having them sound the same. They provoked that change of headspace by relocating to nearly different worlds to acquire that different sound.
When Big Thief recorded U.F.O.F., they were stationed in the barn-themed Bear Creek Studio in Woodinville, Washington, which influenced the celestial, supernatural impression laced throughout the album. Two Hands, on the other hand, has the band transferred all the way across the country to the dry and arid desert of El Paso, Texas. Will this setting cause the rest of the album to be similar to “Not?”
One thing is for sure, it’s that there will be plenty more hypothetical thought towards this album in the next week or two.
Featured image by Dustin Condren.