Michael Nau & The Mighty Thread is the follow up to 2016's Mowing – the first record Nau released under his own name, after fronting psych folk projects Page France and Cotton Jones – June 2017's Some Twist, and its extension, The Load EP. The sprawling new album was recorded in Benny Yurco's one-bedroom apartment in downtown Burlington, VT. It's the first time one of Nau's records happened all in one place, and it feels most like a band record than ever before. You can hear that organicness all across Michael Nau & The Mighty Thread, from the golden-sounding, glibly existential love song "Less Than Positive," one of the oldest written on album, to the smoky and melancholic "Smudge," one of the most recent. The songs on this layered record sound sunny and familiar, like sharing stories and worries with a close friend on a late summer day.
Nau shines when he's nestled in that medium between melancholy and carefree. He seems to be thinking about the past, present, and future, all at the same time, and his songs move between pain and joy, fires and rivers, faraway stars, icy Saturdays, clouds of smoke, between shelter and flowers in the rain. "And it just keeps going, if it's done it's done/Still flow in the flowing, all around the sun," he sings on "Smudge," the record's finale, which is about love, and memories, and loneliness, and apprehension – "Something coming around some bend/Waiting for something to never end" – all at once. It's all just part of the waves of life; sometimes you get stuck, or things move slower, and sometimes the pace steps up.
And that seems to be the gist of Michael Nau & The Mighty Thread – that there are "different movements" in the self, that constantly figuring yourself out is all part of the journey. "As long as love is the motion," Nau says, "it might get there." Wherever there is.