After two widely acclaimed records, Big Thief is emerging with their third, U.F.O.F., more in sync with each other than ever before. Thanks to years of being on the road and performing together, the members of Big Thief have reached a cohesion that makes the experience of listening to U.F.O.F. far more intense. The organic intimacy that comes from lead singer Adrianne Lenker’s almost whispered vocals feels elevated to new heights. Her delicate voice has the power to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. But the album’s softness should not be mistaken for a lack of impact. The songs on this record pack a punch, lyrically and texturally, for the way they play with dimension and the way they capture our deepest, darkest questions about life.
Recorded in a cabin in rural Washington, U.F.O.F. often feels like the sonic equivalent of a mystical world full of woodland creatures and magical wormholes. It is shadowy and shimmery, but with a folksy earthiness woven into the fabric rooted in the acoustic guitar and the imperfections in Lenker’s voice. The raw growl that comes at the end of vocal curl in “From” and the tremors in her high notes of “Orange” are some of the album’s most stunningly human moments.
“Cattails” is one of the brighter moments on U.F.O.F., exploring friendship, aging, and the power of memory. That theme of time passing by and its power to distance us from our loved ones and moments we never want to forget comes through vividly.
Whether in the poeticism of the haunting opening track “Contact” calling upon someone for nourishment and support in a time of great need, or in the gentle exploration of birth and death in the warm “Terminal Paradise,” Big Thief finds comfort in the existential, the unknown.