Big Thief recently broke their silence with the double single “Little Things” / “Sparrow”, and today give us another new pearl called “Certainty”. The song arrived during a long power outage while they were at Sam Evian’s rural studio, with Buck Meek revealing:
“On the third day of the outage, I found Adrianne on the porch writing a new song, so I sat with her and we finished it together, with the rain falling from the gutters splashing over our guitars. James and Sam saw us writing, and quickly set up a four-track tape machine in the kitchen, powered by the F250 cigarette lighter out in the yard. They set up the drums by the sink, and Max plugged his bass into a Bluetooth speaker set on top of the stove. Take 2 had a great bark from Sam and Hannah’s pup Jan during the solo, but we ended up going with take 3 because it took us about that long to learn the chords. Then we made pancakes and sausages and ate breakfast for dinner.”
That lo-fi quality is evident on “Certainty” but doesn’t overwhelm the song or disrupt Big Thief’s natural ability for harmonies and stunningly interwoven melodies – it just makes us feel all the closer to them. Lenker’s words slip through images both familiar and personal, all tied together by her sheer humanity, even when conflicted; “maybe I love you is a river so high / maybe I love you is a river so low / I love you, still don’t know.” Harmonies provided by Meek and Hannah Cohen add a golden glow to the song, bringing it out of Lenker’s heart and making it a universal quest for true love, understanding and completeness – the hope that it will add up to that ever elusive “Certainty”.