Darlings of Pitchfork and NPR, Brooklyn’s Big Thief has an accessible sound that mellows so much that it can be easy to miss its message. The band’s first album, the loftily titled Masterpiece, was hailed as a “wall-to-wall artful expression” by All Music, and anticipation is running high for their second release, Capacity, out June 9.
Led by vocalist Adrianne Lenker, Big Thief embraces the ethereal both in melody and in Lenker’s hushed, impassioned singing. It’s easy to get sucked into this band’s world, particularly when they pair their entrancing sounds with striking visuals.
Take their new video for “Mythological Beauty,” for example. It’s no coincidence that the title perfectly suits the song; its lyrics reflect Lenker’s childhood trauma — and her mother’s devastated, but determined, reaction. ”‘Mythological Beauty’ reveals the origin of the scar on the right side of my head,” she says, “It is a conversation between parent and child; between child and child; between the child within the parent and the child within the child; and between the parent within the child and the parent within the parent.”
That multi-dimensional description serves as the basis for the song’s accompanying video. Set against a backdrop that wouldn’t be out of place north of the Wall on Game of Thrones, Lenker, channeling some very ’90s Sinead O’Connor vibes, leads her bandmate and collaborator, Buck Meek, through the icy tundra. Though he stumbles, she remains strong, even carrying him at one point. The feminist undertones here are anything but subtle, and it’s refreshing to see a strong female creator wholly embracing that role. (Shout out also to director Vanessa Haddad, whose impeccable vision is executed perfectly.)
Also making an appearance is Lenker’s actual mother, driving home the inspiration behind the song and giving it an intimate, personal feel. Overall, the sound complements the story and vice versa for a total sensory experience. The video is as engrossing as anything on cable TV these days — and with better music to boot.
Check out Big Thief’s video for “Mythological Beauty” below, and be sure to pre-order Capacity now.