Track-by-track: BIG|BRAVE on their ferocious and sensitive new album nature morte

Montreal’s BIG|BRAVE release their exquisite new record, nature morte, through Thrill Jockey today, February 24. The elemental trio concoct elongated, distortion-fuelled songs that are at once ferocious and sensitive. 

Singer and guitarist Robin Wattie talks us through the record.

01. “carvers, farriers and knaves”

Lyrically, this one pertains to how the noxious ways of others is detrimental to one’s well being, health, heart and soul. It can be quite visceral and violent. And because of the global culture of conditioning those who present as women, we have normalised surviving with little outward articulation in all its forms.

The jarring way the song starts and carries on is a good representation of what the band has tried to hone in on sonically throughout our efforts in exploration and experimentation over the years.

02. “the one who bornes a weary load”

This is about how in the history and present day of the endless violence of desire, lust and greed, it is an incessant nightmare for the ones on the receiving end of it. The cruelty of such a want can be applied to the primary concept of the album: the subjugation of femininity in all its pluralities (nature, human etc).

03. “my hope renders me a fool”

Probably the saddest song I’ve ever had the honour of writing with Mathieu throughout the years. I knew his skills were exceptional, but after his first solo album and the beauty I’ve witnessed and heard him create, it just reinforces my respect for his ear and musical intuition. For me, it is one thing to create mood and an environment with sound, it is another to provoke emotion… and a whole other bowl of potatoes to ‘sound’ emotion (lol as if sound is a verb).

Throughout the recording of this one, with every listen, it would stop me. With each listen when recording and mixing and mastering this song, it was as if it was gifting me the space and time to feel sad for as long as it played.

04. “the fable of subjugation”

I had always wanted to dive into and play traditional hymns, folk and old-timey songs. So when we collaborated with The Body for Leaving None But Small Birds, I used the opportunity to do so with regards to the lyrics. It fit well with Lee’s idea for the collaboration; he wanted to make an Americana style record with us because he and Chip are from Arkansas, we are from Canada, and one member from The Band is from Arkansas and the other is from Canada.

With that said, that experience inspired me to try my hand at writing in that old folk song traditional style, which I used here and in the titles of each song.

05. “a parable of the trusting”

I am tired of folks not speaking up and out and speaking to others that need to be spoken to regarding problematic behaviours etc. so, lyrically this came out of the frustration at witnessing those and myself being harmed by certain types of ‘political activists’ that quite literally don’t practice what they preach; those that protect individuals that have harmed and continue to harm.

Musically, it is a very simple paired down song. It could even be considered a throwback to our first album Feral Verdure.

06. “the ten of swords”

This title is from the tarot card Ten Of Swords. The meaning of the card can vary, but usually only slightly: affliction, psycho-physical instability, insanity, hidden pain.

Ultimately it is integral to the cause and effect of the main concept of the album as a whole.

nature morte is out now via Thrill Jockey. You can find BIG|BRAVE on Bandcamp, Instagram and Facebook.

BIG|BRAVE tour Europe this spring, before dates with Liturgy in the States. They also return to the UK at the end of the summer to play the always excellent End of the Road Festival. 

BIG|BRAVE spring 2023 EU tour dates:

Apr. 9 – Hamburg, DE – Hafenklang
Apr. 10 – Copenhagen, DK – Loppen
Apr. 11 – Malmö, SE – Plan B
Apr. 12 – Oslo, NO Blå
Apr. 14 – Helsinki, FI – Kuudes Linja
Apr. 15 – Tallinn, EE – Sveta Baar
Apr. 16 – Riga, LV – Noass
Apr. 18 – Vilnius, LI – XI20
Apr. 19 – Warsaw, PL – Voodoo
Apr. 20 – Poznań, PL – Dom Tramwajarza
Apr. 21 – Berlin, DE – Urban Spree
Apr. 23 – Tilburg, NL – Roadburn Festival
Apr. 26 – Nurnberg, DE – KANTINE (beim Künstlerhaus)
Apr. 27 – Dresden, DE – Ostpol
Apr. 28 – Krems, AT – Donaufestival
Apr. 29 – Zagreb, HR – Kset
Apr. 30 – Bologna, IT – Circolo Dev
May 2 – Piediripa, IT (MC) Dong
May 4 – Busto Arsizio, IT – Circolo Gagarin
May 5 – Bulle, CH – Ebullition
May 7 – London, UK – Desertfest
May 9 – Manchester, UK – Soup Kitchen
May 10 – Glasgow, UK – Stereo
May 11 – Newcastle, UK – The Lubber Fiend
May 12 – Liverpool, UK – IWF Substation
May 13 – Norwich, UK – Voodoo Daddy
May 14 – Birmingham, UK – The Castle & Falcon
May 15 – Leeds, UK – Brudenell Social Club
May 16 – Bristol, UK – Dareshack
May 17 – Brighton, UK – The Hope & Ruin
May 18 – Brussels, BE – Ancienne Belgique