Album Review

Big Thief - Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You

A group undoubtedly at the peak of their powers.

Recorded across four sessions, with four engineers, in four different locations including woodlands, canyons and mountains, the whimsically-named ‘Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You’ was whittled down to a still-mammoth 20 songs from a possible 45. It represents a high water-mark in many a great band’s career: the dangerous double-album. The delicate place where abundant creativity aligns with brazen experimentalism, these are records where any misstep risks the dreaded accusation of self-absorbed indulgence. Far from being a bloated filler-fest however, the ethereal gorgeousness hugging ‘Dragon New…’’s entire breadth and depth indicates a group undoubtedly at the peak of their powers. Five albums deep, the group are now adaptable enough to record in all conditions (‘Certainty’ was tracked by candlelight on tape machine powered by a mini-van, to name just one example), and here, Big Thief dive deep into the campfire-cosiness of the American-folk tradition, where sepia-toned fiddles and acoustic guitars take precedence over noisome amplification. Its balladry is eiderdown-soft, pretty as sunset pink; Adrianne Lenker’s fluttering vocals, earth-bound as a sparrow’s chirp, dust off the cobwebs from the closets of memory, enrapt in rarefied, heart-rent emotion. Offering the odd lo-fi rocker as an occasional snack - Adrianne wailing the title of ‘Love Love Love’, provides cool electric relief - ‘Dragon New…’ is largely an epic of intimate, stripped-back proportions. Put simply, it’s a masterpiece.

Tags: Big Thief, Reviews, Album Reviews

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