Big Thief’s latest song “Mary” is a huge jump. While most of their music is a twang-inflected jolt to the system, the new track from their upcoming album Capacity sounds like being sung to sleep. By compiling a series of hyper-specific childhood memories and laying them over a tender and hushed piano arrangement, the Brooklyn-based indie rockers have created a lullaby for adults who wish they could be rocked until they’re dreaming.
Adrianne Lenker explained how the song she wrote while in her grandparents’ home was a way to return to a lost childhood warmth.
“My grandparents — and my grandma, in particular — defined homey coziness in my life when I really needed it,” she told NPR. “Just that feeling of being completely cradled. That was my safe space.”
Lenker went back to that place both physically and in the song’s lyrics. While Lenker asks to return to a certain kind of love, snatches of melody in the song’s hook sound like they are being read a children’s book
“It’s about childhood being brought to life and reignited after the slush of the teenage years,” she explained. “There’s just a little capsule of a song that allows me to revisit all these colors and pictures and textures and feelings.”
Fans of Big Thief’s attention-grabbing album Masterpiece need not to worry, however. According to Lenker, the soft vibes of “Mary” serve as a cool-down for the rest of Capacity, which is out June 9 on Saddle Creek