The trails that Brooklyn’s Big Thief — Adrianne Lenker (guitar, vocals), Buck Meek (guitar), Max Oleartchik (bass), and James Krivchenia (drums) — take us down on Capacity are overgrown with a wilderness of souls. Their highly anticipated second record will be released on June 9th by Saddle Creek. These are carnivorous stories, with pangs of sadness and joy. Lenker shows us the gentle side of being ripped open, and then recounts the second act of pulling oneself back together to prepare for it all to happen again.
Capacity comes just one year after the stunning debut of Masterpiece. The album took them on near-constant tours coast-to-coast in the U.S., to the U.K. and Europe twice, and around the world to Australia. But before leaving on their global adventures, they recorded Capacity in a snowy winter nest in upstate New York at Outlier Studio with producer Andrew Sarlo, who also produced Masterpiece. Sarlo worked intimately with the band to arrange most of the songs for the first time at the studio, moving from conception to birth in a matter of hours. Bonfires were built each night, a month of meals were prepared and shared by the five, with maple water from a tree tap each morning, everyone helping feed the sheep, chickens, and angora rabbits on the farm.
In Capacity’s eleven songs, Lenker introduces us to many different women, sometimes within the foyer of a house of mirrors. In the opening track, “Pretty Things”, she sings: “These things that lonely ones do / Baby that’s what I’m here for / I’ll take care and make all your wishes come true / If you want to / Do you want to? / Don’t take me for a fool / There’s a woman inside of me / There’s one inside of you too”
Lenker’s characters are often spooked and then soothed in a remarkably short amount of time, regenerating back into a state where they can once again be vulnerable. The band breathes with this swell, gasping in synchrony, hyperventilating with volume, and then suddenly the crisis passes and the band exhales with mutual relief. NPR Music’s Bob Boilen finds an enduring quality in Capacity’s songs: “Big Thief’s quiet power propels songs of the flesh and soul. These are timeless songs, memorable and momentous.”
” ‘Mythological Beauty’ reveals the origin of the scar on the right side of my head,” says Lenker. “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.”
“There is a darker darkness and a lighter light on this album,” Lenker continues. “The songs search for a deeper level of self-acceptance, to embrace the world within and without. I think Masterpiece began that process, as a first reaction from inside the pain, and ‘Capacity’ continues that examination with a wider perspective.”