6/28/17 – Big Thief “Capacity” (2017)

Big Thief is an Indie Rock band fronted by guitarist/singer Adrianne Lenker. She’s got a gentle and soothing voice that’s also very commanding, even in the few moments the band gets loud. For the most part, Capacity is quiet and intimate – sometimes it’s just Lenker singing with an acoustic for backup. Lenker’s breathy voice coos out stories of her past, often with violent, sexually charged imagery. Given how personal the album is and how innocuous the rest of the band is, I had a hard time not writing about Big Thief as if it were just a one man band starring Adrianne Lenker.

She starts off the album with Pretty Things, a wrestle with both masculinity and femininity sung to her lover. She challenges the notion that all males are completely masculine and visa versa with females, as well as one or the other is “good” or “bad”. Mythological Beauty is the story of her Family’s past, sung towards her Mother – specifically about her births and Lenker’s childhood trauma. Her brother was given up to adoption and she never knew him. She cut open her head while playing in the backyard and rushed to the hospital – it’s a song that’s so honest that it instantly triggers your own past memories. I think of my brothers and sisters and memories I haven’t thought of in years, especially a few where I or my brother was rushed to the hospital with a broken bone or cut. It also happens to be the catchiest song on the album, it’s all around terrific and easily my favorite on the album.

In the end it’s Lenker’s nonchalant vocal delivery and often uninteresting instrumentals that never really grabs me completely. Too easily every song blends together into one big mush, even with the Daniel Johnston sounding Coma or offbeat Objects. I absolutely don’t regret listening to it or writing about it, but I would only recommend this for someone who is still itching for new Indie music to check out, especially female singer-songwriters.

 

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