Big Thief - U.F.O.F.
Critic Score
Based on 28 reviews
2019 Ratings: #59 / 805
Year End Rank: #13
User Score
2019 Rank: #97
Liked by 134 people
May 3, 2019 / Release Date
LP / Format
4AD / Label
Indie Folk / Genre
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CRITIC REVIEWS

92
Pitchfork
The third album from the Brooklyn quartet is an intimate and surreal experience, a true masterpiece of folk music from a band working together at the highest level.
90
Loud and Quiet

The audience that their work so far has amassed, and the goodwill that it has bought them, appear to have granted them real creative freedom, as this is their most stylistically ambitious record yet.

90
God Is in the TV

Big Thief emphatically rise to the challenge with their most unselfconscious album yet. Their musicianship feels utterly entwined with their songwriting and it’s their most vivid and best release to date.

90
Exclaim!

Big Thief are accepting the inherent beauty of life's invisible forces and their contemplation with the unknown has led them to a mindful state of raw, celestial power. U.F.O.F. is trembling with mystical energy and is truly one of the year's best records.

90
The Sydney Morning Herald
It's a visceral, almost sticky closeness that Lenker​ cultivates throughout her work, with lyrics drifting by like snatches of overheard conversation.
90
The 405

Big Thief’s folky indie sound is still intact, but for U.F.O.F. they have become masters of studio wizardry, subtly spinning layers of additional instrumentation into their sound, imbuing it with spiritual atmosphere that enhances the divine feelings delivered by their hyper-empath singer Adrianne Lenker.

90
AllMusic

A foray into artful album rock for the band, U.F.O.F.'s shifts in presentation are subtle and seem wholly organic throughout. It's a record deserving of such an evocative title, which captures its dreamily impressionistic yet unsettling nature.

90
PopMatters

Big Thief's third album U.F.O.F. is a sublime odyssey where the journey blithely overshadows the destination. U.F.O.F. is an almost perfect album.

85
Under the Radar

The band find themselves vibrating through the grand designs of nature, looking to the stars and pondering the hidden connections that envelop us all.

84
Paste

On U.F.O.F., Big Thief embrace their more subtle and mystical sides while capturing a wider array of landscapes.

81
Northern Transmissions

If song writers are spelunkers of the unrevealed, then Lenker is one of the bravest working today – unafraid to probe the depths of her inner world by shining a light into the corners of the universe. This is strange and courageous music.

80
The Observer

Full of subtle charm, it’s an album of deceptive depths in which to immerse yourself.

80
The Independent

You don’t come away from this record feeling downcast. It’s more a reminder of how fleeting yet beautiful life is, and an appeal to make the most of it.

80
The Guardian

UFOF sees them pare things down further still, in a collection of gentle folk that seems dazed by its own exquisite beauty.

80
Clash

In its essence 'U.F.O.F.' is a noir folk record that embraces the uncertainty of life and the terrified state of unknowing.

80
Rolling Stone

UFOF sends a shiver down your spine in its simplicity.

80
The Skinny

Big Thief lead us gently from the beaten path and into the unknown with U.F.O.F., a hypnotic third offering that showcases their courage and chemistry.

80
American Songwriter

U.F.O.F. is a beautiful album, but one that finds Big Thief a little more willing to push their limits, both in terms of abrasiveness and grace.

80
The Line of Best Fit

Though the album is consistently soothing and soft, like a cashmere jumper, it is somehow not quite safe. Under the easy-on-the-ear surface is an urgent emotional quality that seems to be what distinguishes Big Thief from superficially similar acts.

80
musicOMH

For most Big Thief fans, UFOF is a natural, welcome progression, and one that you likely won’t want to tear yourself away from.

70
DIY

It feels darker an offering than some of their earlier work, more textured and full of otherworldly sound effects that often only become obvious on multiple listens.

70
No Ripcord

The band fills U.F.O.F. with a rich tapestry of textural tones, almost to the point of oversaturation. It's so embedded in their songs that they somehow get lost in their creation, filled with awe and wonder (and some healthy pretension).

50
The Needle Drop

U.F.O.F. is mostly listenable—if a bit derivative—indie folk with a few flashes of brilliance sprinkled throughout the tracklist.

Doofy
94

Almost unrecognisable as the same band as on the previous two albums - this is a step up to the major leagues if ever I heard one.

Like an orgasmic mix of the very best of Elliott Smith, Low and Cat Power - the song writing has improved in both its consistency and melodic power.

musicmagpie55
84

Absolutely beautiful, Adrianne Lenker and the crew reach new heights in their songwriting skill on the wonderful UFOF. I wasn't sure how the band could push their sound forward, but Big Thief tends to prove me wrong on a regular basis. The music is ethereal and somehow more brittle, the guitars quivering with a sense of chaotic excitement. If Capacity cut open a scar to excavate its origins, UFOF looks to the heavens for perspective and guidance. The themes of connection and intimacy are still ... read more

zachthesnack
85

And now, I have become completely and devastatingly sad

I am going to be open with you guys and say that I have a very mixed opinion on it because while it didnt really blow me away sonically it still had a profound impact on me for some reason.

Lets start with the most obvious reason in that “Terminal Paradise” is perhaps the most powerful song of the year so far. I cried so hard. The message was so somber and beautiful and any time an artist is able to profoundly express their ... read more

zeelee233
93

Adrianne's vocals unleash the grotesquely uneven, with arrangements that explode in a calm thunderstorm, exposing the uncanny beneath the warm surface, with Type 3 contact underneath the shimmering guitars glowing with a paranormal white light, and eerie soundscapes that further punctuate the theme. Drawing from falling flowers, mountains and lakes, nature's visions are gathered into darker musical atmospheres, with instrumental breathable space, psychedelic walls of sound and ambient noise ... read more

79

The least accessible Big Thief album. Adrianne’s singing is a lot more hushed and wispy than previous Big Thief albums. A lot of the songs feel untraditional which is probably why the album might be considered less accessible to some. Most of this album is beautiful, though a few songs sound a little bit too demo-like. Interesting album undoubtedly, not as easy a listen as something like DNWMIBIY but still relaxing none the less.

70

Found this harder to get into than their previous two albums. I will try it again someday, but nothing in the last third of the album really stuck out to me. The two more popular songs from the album, UFOF and Cattails didn't really stand out to me a lot either unfortunately.

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Track List

1Contact
3:54
88
2UFOF
3:08
91
3Cattails
4:05
88
4From
3:58
81
5Open Desert
3:47
88
6Orange
3:30
86
7Century
3:07
83
8Strange
3:41
86
9Betsy
3:28
83
10Terminal Paradise
3:25
90
11Jenni
4:11
88
12Magic Dealer
3:01
81
Total Length: 43 minutes
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Added on: February 26, 2019