Big Thief – Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You
On their latest album, Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You, Big Thief are at their most beguiling when giving in to weird experiments
Big Thief present themselves with an earthy, ragged quality, and a deep commitment to authenticity. Songs come tumbling out of them. Perhaps doubting the volume of songs on this new double album is naive when it comes to a band that released two separate knockouts in just one year in 2019.
The highs here are some of the highest in the band’s prolific discography, but on the back half, the songs clump together without discernible personality. There's a mushiness which shows that “killing your darlings”, “trimming the fat”, and every cliché in the book about not giving in to your most indulgent instincts should be followed even by the most well-regarded artists. Adrianne Lenker can do some of this stuff in her sleep; none of this group of songs are as good as those from her concise solo album, which only sprawled out with the ambient abstractness of its instrumental companion, something new and unheard for her. Here, listless listening is interrupted by the dangerous, mystical Simulation Swarm, saving the record’s back half.
Big Thief are at their most beguiling when giving in to weird experiments – Heavy Bend has the light-touch production of a SZA song, while Blurred View is as glitchy and downbeat as a Billie Eilish cut. Or the collection of jammy, dreamy tracks – Little Things, Time Escaping, Flower of Blood, to name a few – that captures the intangible, unexplainable quality they possess, something that seems like peering in on private moments that should not be seen by outsider eyes, where they connect on an astral level, guided by whatever magic exists between these four closely bonded people.
Listen to: Little Things, Flower of Blood, Simulation Swarm