What sight or smell do you most closely associate with home? Unluckily for me it’s manure. When I step out the car and smell that a neighbouring farmer has been ‘muck spreading’ – driving their tractor around whilst unloading saved-up shit from a trailer to encourage the grass to grow – I know I’m home. For Big Thief it’s the sight of cattails – a plant with a cotton-like exterior – swaying in the wind.
This nostalgic sight is the subject matter of the second single from their forthcoming album ‘U.F.O.F’. Nothing brings greater joy to lead singer Adrienne Lenker than when she’s “riding that train in late June” and spots the first set of cattails in the distance.
On the band’s Instagram they announced the single with a video that simply showed Adrienne park up the Land Rover, turn the dusty knob of the CD player up, step out of the car and dance with sheer abandon to “Cattails.” Primarily that’s what this song is about, how that sight of the thing you most associate with home reminds you of a time when you simply did things for the sake of it. That time you ran in the field just for the thrill of it, without apps measuring the distance you’ve run and a stopwatch telling you whether you beat your personal best. It’s a feeling of pure, unbridled joy and if “Cattails” doesn’t leave you feeling like that, you’re doing this wrong.