Big Thief – Masterpiece


A few too many hard ciders into a weeknight evening, this is a voice you could fall in love to… or with. On their debut album, Big Thief leads campfire songs into loud-soft-loud territory, armed with slashing guitars and hip-loosening rhythms. Full-throttle rockers like “Humans” and the title track “Masterpiece” present the unexpected meeting of Emmylou Harris and the Pixies — an undeniable, kick-ass sound.

Its loose, off-the-cuff feel notwithstanding, Big Thief’s Masterpiece is a concise, multidimensional album, often playful yet always formidable. From finger-picked acoustic numbers to stare-into-the-headlights drum work-outs, the Brooklyn band changes the styles to keep listeners on their toes and engaged beyond the obvious allure of Adrianne Lenker’s voice. But oh, that voice. On a quiet number like “Paul,” it’s awfully hard to resist the seductive intimacy of Lenker’s sleepy, cooing soprano; the interruption of guitarist Buck Meek’s spacy, woozy solo doesn’t break the spell so much as suggest its effect on the band as well.

Just look at this album cover! Big Thief’s Masterpiece is one of the more charming debut albums you’ll hear in 2016.


Masterpiece is out now on Saddle Creek Records.

June 10 – Nashville, TN @ The Basement
June 11 – St. Louis, MO @ Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room
June 12 – Louisville, KY @ Headliners Music Hall
June 13 – Bloomington, IN @ The Bluebird
June 14 – Davenport, IA @ Daytrotter
June 15 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
June 16 – Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall
June 17 – Milwaukee, WI @ Pabst Theater
June 18 – Detroit, MI @ UFO Factory
June 19 – Toronto, ON @ The Drake Hotel (NxNE FEstival)
June 20 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Spirit
June 23 – Brooklyn, NY @ Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival
June 28 – Dallas, TX @ Club Dada
June 29 – Austin, TX @ Sidewinder
July 1 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar
July 2 – San Diego, CA @ Casbah
July 3 – Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theatre
July 5 – San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop
July 7 – Portland, OR @ Bunk Bar
July 8 – Seattle, WA @ Sunset Tavern
July 9 – Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret
July 13 – Evanston, IL @ Evanston SPACE
July 14 – Lakewood, OH @ Mahall’s 20 Lanes
July 15 – Buffalo, NY @ Sugar City
July 19 – Boston, MA @ Rock On! Concert Cruise
Sept. 23 – New York, NY @ Central Park Summerstage