AOTY 2019
Big Thief - U.F.O.F.
Critic Score
Based on 22 reviews
2019 Ratings: #54 / 610
Year End Rank: #6
User Score
Based on 735 ratings
2019 Ratings: #49
May 3, 2019 / Release Date
LP / Format
4AD / Label
Indie Folk / Genres
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bigthief.net / Website
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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
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
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
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
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.

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.

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 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
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 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 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
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
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
The Observer

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

80
Rolling Stone

UFOF sends a shiver down your spine in its simplicity.

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.

Boom, and just like that there's suddenly another contender for album of the year.
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
91
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
dearsongs
87
Their first two albums didn't grab my attention like this new one, nor did Adrianne Lenker's solo album from last year (although they all now require more of my time). Glad I didn't wear out the singles so I can listen to this in the album context.

The first half is perfect... 6 supremely pretty songs. I was afraid the back half couldn’t come close to matching up, thankfully I was wrong. The reworked version of “Terminal Paradise“ is gorgeous. No song overstays it’s ... read more
LepardRyan
45
can we put an embargo on this indie folk/singersongwriter/americana genre? Swear one of these cookie-cutter acoustic albums comes out weekly anymore, I'm so tired of it.
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Track List

  1. Contact
  2. UFOF
  3. Cattails
  4. From
  5. Open Desert
  6. Orange
  7. Century
  8. Strange
  9. Betsy
  10. Terminal Paradise
  11. Jenni
  12. Magic Dealer
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Added on: February 26, 2019