Big Thief

Capacity

Saddle Creek

Jun 08, 2017 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Find It At: AMAZON

It's natural to be seduced by contemporary apparatus of sound sculpting that intensifies the listening experience. Then you hear a band like Big Thief and recognize the potential power in balanced unison of guitar, drum and voice and that these essential means of expression are the most direct conductors of the passions of musical souls. In the right hands, they're all you need.

When listening to something as beautifully made and heart wrenching as Big Thief's penetrating sophomore album, Capacity, you are taken somewhere beyond the physical, whether walking or sitting or lying down, moving or motionless. Therein lies the magic, and why we always respond to authentic music, no matter how many songs of similar ilk we've heard before. That feeling of transport never gets old and this Brooklyn band from disparate backgrounds has an almost supernatural feel for song crafting with this effect.

With fluid alternation between poetry and prose and a deep intimacy not encountered often (think a more tormented Kimya Dawson), vocalist and guitarist Adrianne Lenker offers candle lit windows into her world time and time again. There's a distinctly quiet, bedtime story hush of these songs from the darkness of early memory, with Lenker's voice providing the comfort of a flashlight. And harnessed in treasures like "Mythological Beauty" and "Shark Smile," her tender avowal and recollection reaches out somewhere between a whisper and a cry, tucked into capsules where the heart of melodic folk floats in the raw shell of alternative rock.

Instrumentally, Lenker's haunting guitar lines join with the throwback rhapsody of guitarist Buck Meek, the restrained measure of drummer James Krivchenia and the deep water ripples of Max Oleartchik's bass to form a harmony with the warm touch of eastern healing. In character, Capacity shares the mysterious sweet sadness of the group's 2016 debut, Masterpiece, and that could have a lot to do with how closely together they were written and recorded. Not to mention, both albums were guided by the patient virtuosity of producer Andrew Sarlo, with whom Lenker bonded at Berklee College of Music. Yet, from Capacity emanates a maturity and refinement that sounds of a group of musicians truly hitting their stride. It's a resounding reinforcement of Big Thief's special connection and distinctive spirit through songs that sink in, disrupt, and last. (www.bigthief.net)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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