By Adrian Woods, contributor
Key tracks: “Change” “Certainty” “ Wake Me up to Drive”
Big Thief, one of the most underrated indie rock bands of the modern day, have released their fifth studio album, Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You. Clocking in at 80 minutes long, it may be Big Thief’s biggest and boldest album to date.
Once again, like most Big Thief albums, the vocals and production on this album are great. There are many songs on this album that I’m listening to that make me think I’m listening to a modern day Fleetwood Mac. That comparison mainly comes down to the incredible backing vocals of Buck Meek, and especially the vocals of Adrienne Lenker who has those sultry vocals that are very similar to that of Stevie Nicks. The way they work off one another is reminiscent of the iconic band. The opening song, “Change” uses the instruments on it very sparingly. The guitar strums are gentle, and the considerate shaking of the maracas and the simplicity of the drumming makes for a great opener and tone setter for the rest of the album. This album may be over 80 minutes long, but the variation of song genres that this album covers is vast and makes the album deserving of its time length. It’s very simple in tone and it never stops running with that warm and sweet tone.
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“Time Escaping” is a bit experimental with its instrumentation, mainly in its percussion, but the song is extremely enjoyable for it. “Spud Infinity” and “Certainty” brings a bit of a country theme to the album especially with the presence of a violin on the former track while “Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You” has a 60’s psychedelic sound to it, almost like a Jefferson Airplane song. The vintage aesthetic really makes for a pleasing, warm feeling that other albums just don’t have. These six songs mentioned are just the first six songs, and the record already has a variety of creative genres at its disposal – each song on this record has its own identity. The faint accordion and lyrics on “Wake Me up to Drive” make for a cozy song, like wrapping a warm blanket around you. The flourishing drums on “Flower of Blood” make the song feel like an adrenaline shot for the album in between two soft songs ”Heavy Bend” and “Blurred View”. It’s impressive how many genres are on this album and it never feels clunky or disjointed. It all flows so well together.
Every song on this album gives you a different feeling whether it be cheerful or melancholy. Further, each song is dripping in charisma and inventiveness from the lush production to the precise, balanced mixing. Even though the long runtime of this album may turn off fans from listening to it, the runtime is actually a major positive to it, as I can’t think of the album being so good if it were trimmed down. Big Thief keeps adding great albums to their discography, and if they continue to do this, they may become a staple for more mainstream indie rock audiences. With their discography as strong as it is, I could see that becoming a real possibility. Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You is without a doubt Big Thiefs best work, and I’m excited to see what direction the band is going to go after such a landmark release.