Big Thief have come a long way in the last couple of years.
2019 saw them release not one, but two, of the year's most acclaimed rock records –U.F.O.F. and Two Hands – on the backs of which they embarked on their biggest concert tour ever.
Though, of course, the tour was sadly cancelled in March 2020 due to COVID-19, the group would go on to net two Grammy nominations (Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song) for Two Hands's towering six-minute opus, Not, later that year.
Now, the Brooklyn-based quartet has returned with a pair of new songs, Little Things and Sparrow.
Between the two of them, Little Things and Sparrow are the perfect introduction to Big Thief for those uninitiated.
The former – which was recorded with Shawn Everrett at Five Star Studios in Topanga, CA in October 2020 – dances on a bewitching bed of tumbling rhythms, sprightly acoustic strumming and clipped, biting electric leads that play beautifully off, around and counter to the melody.
The latter – recorded with Sam Evian at Flying Cloud Recordings in the Catskills in July - August 2020 – is a far more subdued, but no less moving affair. Lacking a chorus (“Kept wanting to put in a chorus and the song kept spitting it out,” said Adrianne Lenker, the band's main singer, songwriter and guitarist, in a press release), Sparrow marches solemnly to a soundscape of Lenker's determined strumming and some haunting ambient guitar work from Buck Meek.
Both songs were produced by the band's drummer, James Krivchenia.
Whether this is our first taste of the eagerly awaited follow-up to Two Hands, or a standalone two-sided single, it's clear that the pandemic hasn't slowed Big Thief down one bit.