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Big Thief return with two gorgeous new songs, Little Things and Sparrow

Adrianne Lenker of Big Thief performs at the Joy Eslava on February 19, 2020 in Madrid, Spain
(Image credit: Mariano Regidor/Redferns)

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. 

Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at guitarworld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.