Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You
Hello Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You. Big Thief are of course the world’s worst kept secret… Five albums in and I feel sure there will be a best new band award in the offing somewhere for this record. Like Little Simz at the Brits, Best New Artist. Only for the business of music arbiters - the only people who seem to have fewer fingers on the musical pulse than I do. True, Big Thief fly beneath a lot of radar, one of the few great remaining band - bands, with only intricate irreplaceable parts. That’s the sort of thing that always made bands so great.
There are Big Thief songs so intimate and personally relatable - imbued with life’s evolving emotions that they make me feel like I am simultaneously alone in the confessional with a million other listeners of catholic taste right there beside me, each individually interpreting the lyrical messages, those bloods, the breads that appear on every record, the moods and musical movements as the Grammy’s stack up and we are all about to inundate Father Joe with a million confessions all at the same time.
Adrianne Lenker, Buck Meek, James Krivchenia, and Max Oleartchik are individually amongst my favourite current crop of pop musicians. They are growing ever closer - ever tighter. They sort of map one-to-one to that other great band-band, The Clash. Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You is a little like a Big Thief Sandinista. Lenker and Buck, the Strummer-Jones alongside Headon and Simonon - Krivhenia and Oleartchik. It can't works so well without all of the parts is so evident here. Buck of course, his singing, his attention to guitar sound and his playing and his stage style. Big Mick! James Krivhenia oh what an alive feel - why can’t more drummers do just no more than what he does and he has a great solo record too.
It's a testament to a band armed with the enormous talent that Lenker is, that ultimately Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You is a work that in its beauty is the sum of more than equal parts.
At 20 tracks the arrival of Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You has been dutifully managed, rather than landing in a lump, I think something like eight of the tracks have crept out over the past six months or so. Expansive, gently coursing - all over the place, really, really all over the place, flowing through the furroughs, momentarily faking out rock motifs like the Faces, seeking corners their songs never saw before. It’s daring. Archetypal electric Big and slight interlocking moments, Buck Meek’s duet harmonies, essentially understated, essential nonetheless. At a couple of points it’s easy to feel sure that Nathan Abshire is going to amble into the studio, sit in, say nothing, he won’t need to in that instant. He’ll belong.
And of course Lenker, no one really talks about the physical aspect of the body carrying through life like Lenker does. It’s always there. And so she chooses to open an often uproarious, joyous, funny, reflexive and spontaneous LP with a reflection on Change… “Death, like a door, To a place we have never been before.” This is music for grown ups to wrestle with.
Swinging still incessant pendulum
Lavender, nettle, calendula
Separate, contact, concentrate
Drawing out the fever
When the pandemic came and we got used to it, those of us still living, and musicians were pushed from their touring treadmill, I really felt by ‘22, ‘23 some great, great music would come of that. Maybe payback begins here, maybe it begins with Big Thief and Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You. It’s a high bar for others to follow if they dare. Everybody steps on ants. Everybody eats the plants.
Main Image of Big Thief by the supremely brilliant Alexa Viscius
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