Striking guitars (on the fiery Real Love), great melodies (the lovely Masterpiece) and an efficient mix of male / female energy (on Paul) makes the debut album of Brooklyn-based band Big Thief one of the most interesting of the indie rock planet in 2016.

As relevant as Land of Talk, as catchy as Metric (Interstate), Adrianne Lenker and her band (Buck Meek on guitar, Max Oleartchik on bass, and James Krivchenia on drums) really have nailed a great album with “Masterpiece”. The title song actually is a pretty one. On strong guitars, the impressions of a new mother in front of her baby daughter: “I’ve seen the Masterpiece / She looks a lot like you”… Probably the rockiest song about a newborn, ever! Later in the album, the short song Lorraine shows the softer side of Adrianne Lenker with this nice nursery rhyme.


The guitar works by Buck Meek is remarkable although this album. He has the perfect timing for his large chords, and beautiful tone. Its heavy and soft à la fois. He doesn’t do solos, but when he does (on Paul), it’s a three-note thing inspired by Neil Young’s “Deadman” soundtrack. The drummer and bassist keep everything attached with low-profile playing, essential to let Lenker’s voice and both guitars shine.

Other fine moments occur when the band simply use acoustic guitars to follow a nice melody. Velvet Ring might be different from the rest of the album, but it brings another type of mood, closer to the folk-rock songs of the 70s.

There isn’t a dull moment on “Masterpiece”. 12 solid songs that will fascinate electric guitar lovers and folks who appreciate well-written songs.

big thief masterpiece

(Saddle Creek, 2016)

-Genre: indie rock
-In the same style as Land of Talk, Metric, Sharon Van Etten, The Do

Buy the album on the band’s Google Play page
Follow the band via their Facebook page
Listen to videos on the label’s YouTube channel

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About The Author

Nicolas Pelletier

Mélomane invétéré et rédacteur agréé, Nicolas pratique la critique en mode olympique: il parle de tout, tout le temps, depuis 1991. Il a publié 6 000 critiques de disques et concerts dont 1100 chez emoragei magazine et 600 sur, dont il a également été le rédacteur-en-chef de 2009 à 2014. Il publie “Les perles rares et grands crus de la musique” en 2013, et devient stratège numérique des radios de Bell Média en 2015, participant au lancement de la marque iHeartRadio au Canada en 2016.