Big Thief have shared two new songs, ‘Little Things’ and ‘Sparrow’, via 4AD / Remote Control Records. ‘Little Things’ was recorded with Shawn Everett at Five Star Studios in Topanga, CA (October 2020). ‘Sparrow’ was recorded with Sam Evian at Flying Cloud Recordings in the Catskills (July/August 2020). Both songs were produced by Big Thief’s drummer James Krivchenia. This is the first new material from the band since 2019’s critically-acclaimed Two Hands (with last year’s ‘Love in Mine’ being a Two Hands outtake).
It can be said with confidence that no one has heard Big Thief as they sound on ‘Little Things’. Perhaps one of the band’s most propulsive songs yet, ‘Little Things’ is a story built upon a very literal sense of uncertainty. “It’s in this sort of evolving free time signature where the beat is always changing,” explains Krivchenia, “so Max [Oleartchik, bassist] and I were just flowing with it and guessing where the downbeats were – which gives the groove a really cool light feeling.” The uncertainty of the rhythms lay fertile ground for Adrianne Lenker’s lyrics, as she opines to a nameless lover “maybe I’m a little obsessed / Maybe you do use me” and “One step behind you / Following you down / I was inside of you / Where are you now / Where are you?”
On ‘Sparrow’, we find Big Thief at their most contemplative, poetic, and metaphorical. A sense of foreboding envelops this song-without-a-chorus (Lenker: “Kept wanting to put in a chorus and the song kept spitting it out.”), which maintains a repetitious, hymnal, almost dirge-like melodic pattern. Lenker’s biblically-tinged story of Paradise lost sprawls while the song’s intensity grows. This recording is the band’s first take of ‘Sparrow’. “We all just scattered about the room without headphones, focused and in the music – you could feel that something special was happening,” explains Krivchenia. “It was a funny instrumentation that had a really cool natural arrangement chemistry – Max on piano, Buck [Meek, guitarist/vocalist] providing this dark ambience, me on floor tom and snare and Adrianne in the middle of it with the acoustic and singing.”