As 2016 draws to a close, it is a time for both endings and beginnings. The electric folk of Big Thief is well-suited to such introspective moments—tinged with sepia-toned nostalgia and a shy sweetness that suggests hope for the future. Their gentle, unhurried song “Paul”—off their critically welcomed record Masterpiece—perfects the dual flavors of sweetness and bitterness while letting in flashes of self-deprecating humor. “I’ll be your real tough cookie with the whiskey breath,” Adrianne Lenker sings softly, to us and to the love interest named in the title of the song, adding, “I’ll be a killer and a thriller and the cause of our death.” Fans of Mazzy Star, Cat Power, and other, more recent torchbearers like Mothers will do well to give “Paul” a listen.
Read more of Max Gray at Big City Sasquatch or follow him on Twitter @City_Sasquatch. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Encounters, Mount Hope, Conte, tNY.press, and English Kills Review. He co-hosts the etymology podcast Words For Dinner and is a graduate of the Rutgers-Newark MFA program.