Big Thief cherish the majesty of small moments—a seed in the wind—and push huge ones—the rings of saturn—closer towards transcendence. The Brooklyn quartet named their second record Capacity, after all, and no other word can better describe the cosmic potential Big Thief can evoke. But the journey on their new, six-minute single “Not” is a close second.
Rather than detailing all the life around her, Adrianne Lenker cleverly uses negation to draw its shadows, letting the mystery of the unsaid bloom. “Not the meat of your thigh/Nor your spine tattoo/Nor your shimmery eye/Nor the wet of the dew,” she quivers, lingering on the physicality of each fleshy remembrance. The lush softness of this year’s U.F.O.F. has evaporated; where there once was a vast green forest, there is now a cracked and snarling desert. By the time Lenker rips a carnal solo from the body of her guitar, Big Thief are jamming and shredding on all cylinders. Even though “Not” has been in the band’s arsenal for years, this studio version, recorded after U.F.O.F. to be featured on their forthcoming album Two Hands, is a towering statement from a group constantly leapfrogging over themselves.