20 October 2005

two songs : nickel creek

best of luck
somebody more like you
click on the image below to listen, then click the left and right arrows to switch between songs.
total listening time: 6m 23s

These songs come from Nickel Creek's third and latest album, Why Should The Fire Die?, which I bought on impulse the other day. As someone new to the San Diego trio, I had to listen to the album three times to even understand how I feel about it, and only after reading about the band was I able to better appreciate them. The album represents the past and future of Nickel Creek. It's an eclectic mix of bluegrass, which is their roots, and folk rock, which is where they seem to be going. The trio of Chris Thile and siblings Sean and Sara Watkins started off as teens toting fiddles, banjos, guitars and mandolins in the festival circuit, until bluegrass artist Alison Kraus helped them land a record deal and later produced their first two albums. With Why Should The Fire Die, produced by the same people that have worked with Michael Penn and Queens of the Stone Age, the band makes a move closer to the mainstream, with a healthy dose of youthful angst served in a vigorous indie rhythm.

Lyrically, the songs don't impress much, as attempts at grown-up bitterness sometimes lapse into juvenile sarcasm: I hope you meet someone your height so you can see eye to eye (Somebody More Like You); Where can a teacher go? Wherever she thinks people need the things she knows (When In Rome). Vocally (and each band member sings at some point) they're not in their best shape yet either. Sara Watkins sometimes sounds inappropriately sweet, while Thile's voice audibly breaks as he switches to a high note in Can't Complain. That said, what I like most about the album is its intimacy. Relying almost entirely on the instruments that the band grew up playing, it sounds like Nickel Creek could be doing a jam session in your living room. Despite its flaws, Why Should The Fire Die is powerful, driven, raw, and ultimately, quite engaging.

No comments:

Post a Comment