Big Thief - Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You
Feb 11, 2022
Big Thief's newest album feels like a cozy and warm blanket on a rainy day. Throughout the entirety of its 80 minutes, 'Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You' envelops the listener with the most beautiful, diverse, and often complex sounds the band has ever created, making for a blissfully unique and enchanting experience.

I'll admit, it is very rare for a folk record to truly captivate me. No matter how many heartwarming melodies and thoughtful lyrics I find in them, I'm always left with the feeling that more could've been done, and that's not much different with Big Thief's previous releases. Up until this point, the only thing that really stood out to me about them had been Adrianne's voice, as I felt like instrumentally the group failed to present something truly interesting and that left a mark past the runtime of their releases, hence why I never gave a rating to or reviewed them - because I honestly don't have any type of strong feelings to express. But with this album it is different. On 'DNWMIBIY', the band pushes their indie folk, rock, and pop sound to a more creative and distinct level, where almost all 20 songs have their own identity while still making sense together as a complete and focused body of work. Even at its most lowkey moments, such as the campy folk lullaby ballad 'Dried Roses' and the intriguing opener 'Change', the album still shines, because it knows how to balance the simplicity of those cuts with the exciting experimentalism of other passages, so the entire thing doesn't feel too overwhelming and not too underwhelming either.

I gotta say the best parts of this record are the songs where the band is trying something new. On 'Time Escaping', the frenetic yet detailed beat feels almost psychedelic in a way, and, in combination with the melody of the verses, creates an unusual but incredible groove. 'Spud Infinity', a song that seems to question our existence and our role as part of the planet, is a sweet fusion of country and folk, while 'Red Moon' is a full around-the-bonfire country tune, and both are great. The title track on the other hand sounds like a dream. It brings some subtle trip-hop elements to the folky mix, and the panned guitar touches mixed with Adrianne's falsetto tone takes us on a relaxing and enchanting journey. The tenderness of this song can be seen in other tracks too, such as the criminally short but extremely catchy folktronica-esque cut 'Heavy Bend', or on some of the soft moments in the second half, where the highlights are the bittersweet 'No Reason', the floaty 'Simulation Swarm' which might have the most earworming instrumental on the entire album, and the cosmic, lovely ballad 'The Only Place'.

But there are also some more upbeat moments on 'DNWMIBIY' which are also very good. The funky and passionate 'Little Things', for example, is exceptional. The drums and layers of guitar on this one feel particularly remarkable and fun, the groove here is impeccable, and the melodies are insanely catchy. 'Wake Me up to Drive' on the other hand isn't as energetic but still has a fun edge with a chorus that sounds like a vacation trip anthem that you would sing in the bus with your friends. The closer 'Blue Lightning' kinda has a blues vibe to it, ending things in a sweet and nostalgic note that really does feel like the perfect sonic representation of the album artwork.

So my overall feelings on this thing were pretty positive as you could see. There really isn't much to complain about this album, although it is a lengthy release that probably could've been shortened. Some songs like 'Certainty', 'Sparrow', ‘Promise Is a Pendulum’ and '12,000 Lines' do feel like more of the same, but I still got some enjoyment out of them, as the tunes were indeed nice on the ears. Other spots like 'Flower of the Blood' and especially 'Blurred View' felt a bit roughly mixed, the latter specially sounds... well, blurry, and the vocals on the first one are really buried in comparison to the rest of the tracks. But even with those little problems, 'Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You' is still a really great and solid release from 'Big Thief', and I can't lie, it really is quite stunning and hypnotizing.

BEST: Change, Time Escaping, Spud Infinity, Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You, Little Things, Heavy Bend, Red Moon, Dried Roses, No Reason, Wake Me up to Drive, Simulation Swarm, The Only Place, Blue Lightning
WORST: Blurred View

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