By the arrival of Big Thief's third album, U.F.O.F. ("UFO friend" per lyrics in the title track), songwriter Adrianne Lenker had established herself as a singular force in indie music, both through two acclaimed albums with her band and with more delicate solo material including 2018's Abysskiss.
In the meantime, Big Thief had toured almost constantly between preparing their 2016 debut, Masterpiece, and recording U.F.O.F., all the while becoming more and more tight-knit as a group. Their development is not only evident in differences between 2017's Capacity and 2019's U.F.O.F., but between U.F.O.F. and Abysskiss, as spotlighted on reworked versions of the latter's "From" and "Terminal Paradise."
Not merely a fuller arrangement, U.F.O.F.'s "Terminal Paradise" transforms the quietly howling acoustic guitar elegy into a haunted, improvisational song. Without changing the main melody, the band animates lyrics like "See my death become a trail/And the trail leads to a flower" with components including spectral voice samples, rattling sound effects, and fast, sustained strumming. This atmospheric treatment is indicative of a more exploratory album that presents ambient-leaning folk-rock collages that combine voice and noise samples, improvised instruments, and Lenker's naked poetry and brittle vocal performances with structured song. (All bandmembers are credited in the liner notes with "ambience."