Throughout Masterpiece, the humbly sublime debut album from Brooklyn folk-rock quartet Big Thief, love braves through woe. As sung by the ever welcoming Adrienne Lenker, these painful yet vital songs near a height of beauty that reminds one of music’s transcendent power.
Following the nimble opener “Little Arrow,” the album starts its raw power with “Masterpiece” (streaming below), the rollicking single that deservedly drew attention a few months back with its panoramic view of searching souls. Like Bob Dylan’s generation-defining “Like a Rolling Stone” from the 1960s, this guitar-trickled song is both addicting and elegant, rough and pretty and, ultimately, lasting in its sheer soulfulness.
A series of lyrically vivid tracks named after potential lovers (“Paul” and “Randy,” for example) follows next, alongside guitar-winded cuts that briskly tackle such elusive motifs as romance and the transience of time, emitting an overall beatific aura in the process.
The type of record that has the possibility of transporting the listener to a calmer, perhaps better plain of existence, Masterpiece is not just the first offering from an intriguing new band but a preciously passionate work in and of itself. – Zach Weg