Big Thief took quite a while for me to get into, but I’ve found their past two albums (both released last year) to be real growers with time. The first track to really grab me was “Not” and it’s the reason I came back to their work and give it the chance it deserved to show it’s qualities.
The most instantly recognisable sound from big thief is the distinctive vocals of Adrianne Lenker who’s rasping voice portrays a raw emotion that can easily go missing in folk rock. It’s always backed up with great lyrics that are often full of powerful symbolism.
“Not” adds to this with its structure that slowly builds to the choruses feeling more and more restrictive. heavily distorting guitar provides drone sounds that create a feeling of descent and increasing pressure. The only respite offered in the track is in small sections when the instrumentation strips away to just the percussion.
The second half of the track concludes with a rip roaring guitar solo that continues to get more raucous and less structured as it collapses in on itself on the tracks conclusion. It’s a powerful and emotional track who’s lyrics, vocal delivery and instrumentation all unify into a truly great piece of music: