BIG THIEF – ” Mary “

Posted: June 6, 2017 in MUSIC
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It would have been natural for Big Thief’s second album,“Capacity” to expand on the richness of the previous collection “Masterpiece” by bathing the band’s new songs in lavish production. But if anything, Capacity takes Lenker to quieter and more private places, with an inward-facing sound to match her ever richer, altogether more intimate storytelling.

These are songs lush with detail, dotted with matter-of-factly dispensed places and proper names (Evelyn, Andrew, Mary, Haley), and yet they’re also abstract enough to retain an undercurrent of mystery. “Shark Smile” paints a vivid picture of a doomed drive, but instead of indulging in road-song clichés, Lenker prefers to linger on illuminative details  “the money pile on the dashboard, fluttering”  en route to a trip’s bad end. In “Watering,” “Mythological Beauty” and elsewhere, “Capacity’s” flashes of violence are rendered in bloody poetry, leaving the album’s back half to do the business of healing and adjusting.

There, “Capacity” takes several stunningly warm turns most notably in the song “Mary,” a love song to an enduring friendship. At five and a half minutes, it unfolds deliberately until a dense cluster of evocative words comes spilling out:

“What did you tell me, Mary / When you were there, so sweet and very / Full of field and stars you carried, all of time / Oh, and heavens, when you looked at me / Your eyes were like machinery / Your hands were making artifacts in the corner of my mind.”

Capacity spends a lot of time ruminating on scars — how they’re made, how they fade, how we learn to wear them comfortably. Which in turn makes “Mary,” and by extension the album, all the more cathartic in its soft celebration.

Big Thief – Mary
From the upcoming album “Capacity” – Out June 9th, 2017!


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