ALBUM REVIEW: Big Thief – U.F.O.F

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Big Thief
U.F.O.F.
4AD

What started with a debut album in 2016, that introduced a fragile and poetic songwriter and her band, has blossomed into a fascinating and quickly evolving career for Adrienne Lenker and the rest of Big Thief. They’ve been touring relentlessly, Lenker even having time to record a well received solo record last year. From Masterpiece to Capacity and now U.F.O.F, the quartet have gently worked away at the canvas of folk and knotty guitar music that draws on both conventional song structures and avant garde curiosity.

This album continues the mystery and beauty of their previous releases while adding even more depth and textural minutiae. There are drone-like textures,  found sounds – like the rolling effect at the start of ‘From’, and fascinating percussive elements that rise and fall in the mix. There’s a feeling of perpetual motion in many of the songs due to the looseness of the arrangements and the playing which makes the music sound both improvised and highly arranged. ‘Jenni’ imagines a Cat Power-fronted Tortoise in the way they use organic instrumentation and allow volume and tone to fluctuate as the song slowly unfurls.

The straightest moment comes right at the start of the album with opener ‘Betsy’ and its sparkling acoustic guitar, gently shuffling drums and Lenker singing in a lower-than-normal register. It’s intimate and affecting and pulls the listener right into the album from the get-go. ‘Contact’ is dreamy and meditative until, as if waking in terror, the guitars gain sharp edges and Lenker emits piercing screams.

If they didn’t already, now Big Thief unequivocally have your attention. Lovers of inventive music would be foolish not to join them on their post-folk journey.

Chris Familton

NEW MUSIC: Ariel Pink | Put Your Number In My Phone

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Ariel Pink’s last album Mature Themes was pretty underwhelming in our opinion, ironically feeling like a teenager-styled rebellion against the success he had with Before Today in 2010. Now he has a new double album pom pom coming out on November 17th via 4AD and though it’s only the first taste of the new record, ‘Put You Number In My Phone’ sounds like he’s back on track with its lo-fi woozy psych feel with a dash of The Smiths thrown into the mix.

pom pom Tracklisting

1 Plastic Raincoats in the Pig Parade
2 White Freckles
3 Four Shadows
4 Not Enough Violence
5 Put Your Number in My Phone
6 One Summer Night
7 Nude Beach A G-Go
8 Dinosaur Carebears
9 Lipstick
10 Goth Bomb
11 Negativ Ed
12 Sexual Athletics
13 Jell-o
14 Black Ballerina
15 Picture Me Gone
16 Exile On Frog Street
17 Dayzed Inn Daydreams

PRE-ORDER