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Big Thief - "U.F.O.F." | Album Review


by Gianluigi Marsibilio (@GMarsibilio)

Looking for new spaces, crossing the boundaries of music designed with acoustic forms, getting lost in tone and in the smallest details of the voice of Adrianne Lenker. The power of U.F.O.F. is in these small elements, in the shortcuts, in the heuristics of the thought that it manages to activate. Since the first tastings which had announced the album, we understood that in this work there would be a lot of archaic and mystical.

Despite the fact that the spaces told are open, sci-fi, the attitude of Big Thief is always linked to that beautiful prairie of elements: the album is comprised of real sketches full of ideas which evolve from pure concepts into beautiful songs. Some tracks were recorded a few hours after the writing itself, bringing out an extremely iconic natural background. In theology we could talk about Kenosis, a background emptying that allows Big Thief to find themselves through a sound both evangelically pure and true.

We can hear this in essential pieces such as "Cattails" or "Century," where Lenker's voice comes straight, like a bullet into the heart, and fits perfectly on a game of brushes on the drums that recalls the concept of acoustic jam-session. Big Thief remains unique, giving meaning to a movement and a genre suspended in an existential limbo, perhaps gnawed by the explosion of strong personalities in other sound landscapes.

Although the record is the most distant thing from Sun Ra, for redundancy and musical choices, it is a door to the sky like "Space Is The Place" (with the due proportions). The cry and consternation of a phrase like “the seasons will bend, there will soon be proof, that there is no alien, just a system of truth and lies” collects the Big Thief universe.

Each unit of the band is a vibrating string of a wonderful mechanism, Lenker's voice is just the perfect little cherry on the ice cream cake. The elements are balanced in the purest essentiality: the acoustics of the sound is a search for class and style, which has now culminated in poetics, choices and sounds very defined and recognizable. Big Thief speak of aliens but these ET come exactly from their universe, masterfully shaped.

The work of Big Thief speaks to us in a radical way: there is renewal, fresh air and the immediacy of one of the most sincere sounding bands currently around. U.F.O.F. is a blessing, even if Easter has passed a while ago.