Punch Brothers
Who's Feeling Young Now?


4.5
superb

Review

by Philalethes USER (6 Reviews)
May 26th, 2012 | 26 replies | 4,107 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: What happens when you get the best bluegrass musicians in the world together, who have extreme broad tastes in music (such as an affinity for great art rock such as Radiohead) and ask them to write whatever they would like? Punch Brothers happens.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

So I know what you’re probably thinking right now. “It sure has been a long time since I heard a great new progressive bluegrass album.” Well the wait is finally over, for the Punch Brothers have released their new album “Who’s Feeling Young Now?” This third studio album of theirs finds the Punch Brother’s producing an album that everyone knew they were always capable of, but were too preoccupied with exploring the fringes of music to bother writing music that would be accessible to the masses. This is an album that showcases some of the greatest musicians on their respective instruments in the world today, making music that has their signature stamp of complexity while at the same time becoming a little more accessible in structure. Hopefully this will earn them some more of the respect that they so greatly deserve.

A little background on the group as I am sure that most people around here have never heard of this group before. This is a super group of all-star bluegrass musicians, headed by one the worlds most virtuosic mandolin players Chris Thile. Chris Thile started his career with Nickel Creek, a pop bluegrass group that was adored by critics and fans alike. As good as that group was, Thile’s talent always shined through a little stronger than his band mates, and it was easy to see that his musical path was going to take him towards more complex and challenging musical endeavors. His solo albums, also amazing progressive style bluegrass (check out Strokes cover of “Heart in a Cage” or White Stripes “Dead Leaves on a Dirty Ground) showed off his abilities to explore very experimental harmonic structures while also showcasing his amazing dexterity on the mandolin. Nickel Creek disbanded and his solo endeavors lead him to joining forces with some of the most talented musicians in the bluegrass community. Thus Punch Brothers was born.

Where the Punch Brother’s first two albums were great departures from the pop sensibilities of Nickel Creek, this new album finds the Punch Brothers drifting back towards what could almost be considered pop music. The previous two albums were very experimental, frequently exploring the atonal realms of music, something that is very polarizing, and appealing to very few. This new music is still challenging, and at times, mixes dissonant melodies. What they have seemingly mastered with this new album though, is the ability to keep the brunt of the songs in more familiar harmonic territory, and through using dissonance and atonal structures more sparingly, still make the songs have that challenging “Punch Brothers” sound.

Each song on this new album creates its own unique sense of character, leading to a very well rounded album. A song like “Its no Concern of Yours” has a very bluegrass melodic theme that is spun around a melancholic pop chord structure. The title track “Who’s Feeling Young Now?” finds shifting up-tempo sections, with aggressive vocals and a more rock vibe. “Patchwork Girlfreind” mixes some vaudeville style melodies with almost Beatlesesque song structure, in the process making for one of the more fun songs on the album. “Hundred Dollars” has a very groovy, blues like feel that again explores some unconventional rhythms and harmonies, while emphasizing a familiar rock structure. “This Girl” is a more uplifting pop like song; also showcasing this groups amazing vocal abilities. They all can sing very proficiently, creating beautiful harmonies with very complex vocal lines.

There is a reason that Punch Brothers has covered Radiohead so many times (check youtube for many amazing covers). The rhythmic complexity of a song such as “Kid A” or “Packed Like Sardines…” clearly resonates deeply with the group as songwriters. The lead single “Movement and Location” highlights some similar complex rhythms. At times it seems as if the banjo or the mandolin is playing a rhythmic part that belongs to a completely different song. It clashes so much, but like melodic dissonance, this rhythmic dissonance resolves and in its own right can be beautiful, if you find the pulse and let the clashing meters wash over you.

So what’s the bottom line? With this album you are going to hear some of the most amazing musicians you will ever hear in life. Each member is a complete virtuoso on their instrument, and collectively gel in a way that we wish every super group would. On paper putting such great talent together sounds great, but in reality usually leads to great musicians writing mediocre music. Punch Brothers is the exception to the rule. They manage to play the type of music that seems to transcend the usual boundaries of music, and leads in to territories where music truly becomes “Art”.



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user ratings (27)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Philalethes
May 26th 2012



244 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Thought I would try help spread the word of a great, under appreciated band.

Philalethes
May 26th 2012



244 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

2+2=5 cover:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5GZ8F32Boo

Packt like Sardines cover:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jtujwGZYQa8

Strokes Repitilia cover:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qayc6yJXG-8&feature=related

Heart in a Cage cover:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJW9IMfkfLM&feature=related

DeafMetal
May 26th 2012



8584 Comments


sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet

camaraderie
May 26th 2012



988 Comments


I heard this on the radio yesterday. : )

ITsHxCTOASTER
May 26th 2012



2431 Comments


I don't know if I can get into this. What I heard from this just didn't sound, well, bluegrass enough

Philalethes
May 27th 2012



244 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I think that is the appeal of the band. They are testing the limits of what a bluegrass band can do. I find it amazing the number of ways they can combine traditional bluegrass acoustic instruments to make all kinds of effects. Sometimes even modern effects that were made by electric and digital instruments. For instance the percussion sounds on Packt Like Sardines, being played behind the bridge of the mandolin. Also the violin simulating some type of filter effect that is heard in the song Kid A is pretty awesome too. This is definitely not a record to listen to if you are looking for traditional bluegrass.

Philalethes
May 28th 2012



244 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

The more I listen to this I realize I had to change to a 5. This album seems to be an awakening of Thile's true artistic vision. I hear moments that are reminiscent of traditional bluegrass, nickel creek, radiohead, blues, and all the crazy 20th century classical music that has so obviously shaped Thile as a musician over the years. This album seems to balance this crazy hodgepodge of elements so well. Each song has an air of familiarity; some sense of a pop structure that is familiar, and yet is constantly playing unexpected chords or moving to unexpected sections and keys, but ultimately sounds beautiful and "right".

DeafMetal
May 28th 2012



8584 Comments


so i've seen these guys live back when they were still called Chris Thile And The How To Grow A Band -- and their releases up until this point have been some of my favorite bluegrass/folk albums ever. my expectations aren't all that high just because i could tell that they were breaking more away from experimentation and focusing on cohesive pop songs... not a bad thing at all (this is probably a 3.5 at least), but it's not what i want to hear from these boys

Philalethes
May 28th 2012



244 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

This is certainly a departure from their more "serious" type music they were making with their previous works. In a lot of ways though, I find this record to be a lot more listenable, especially for replay value, than their previous works. Even though on the surface this record sounds more conventional, it still uses their unconventional chordings and voice leadings that made them stand apart from other groups in the past. I just recently read an interview where Thile was saying that this record was an attempt to more accurately reflect their live shows, trying to capture some more of the energy that comes through in their shows. I haven't had the pleasure of seeing them live, but from the videos I have seen, I would say they did a good job.

aok
July 30th 2012



4165 Comments


yea these guys are really good

DeafMetal
July 31st 2012



8584 Comments


ya

CelestialDust
September 17th 2012



3155 Comments


loved this on first listen, great cover of kid A

Philalethes
September 19th 2012



244 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Its so cool to hear the bass take the melody on that kid A cover. I absolutely love their music, but would love if they released an album of covers some time. Pakt Like Sardines from their last album is another amazing Radiohead cover. I really need to see these guys live sometime, because they look like they put on such a great show.

Mordecai.
May 2nd 2013



8255 Comments


Wow this is amazing. The opening track and the Kid A cover make my balls tingle. This dude can bend a mandolin.

Philalethes
May 12th 2013



244 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Chris Thile is seriously one of the most amazing modern day musician/composers. He is the equivalent of a modern day Mozart; a rare breed of musician that has such a knack for composing and melody, that he could play with anyone, from any given genre, and on the spot improvise the most amazing and technical music you have ever heard. Check out his solo stuff, or his side project from last year with Yo Yo Ma and friends under the name Goat Rodeo Sessions for more proof of his utter mastery of the mandolin, and music in general.

Philalethes
February 5th 2014



244 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Nickel Creek is Back!!!! I can't think of an album that I am now more excited for this year. As great of a musician as Chris
Thile is, I can't help but think that by him getting back with his old band, and just writing some great, catchy and
accessible songs it can only help him gain some new perspective as who is currently as a musician. I am equally excited
to hear the new Nickel Creek album as I am to hear what effect in the future it will have on his writing with his other
projects, such as the Punch Brothers.

Philalethes
February 23rd 2014



244 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Why isn't this band more popular?

Philalethes
February 23rd 2014



244 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Listen to movement and location and see the obvious Radiohead influence.

Philalethes
February 23rd 2014



244 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

If you youtube Chris Thile videos, you literally will be watching one of the greatest musicians to ever walk the earth. Why don't people on this website realize this?




Philalethes
February 23rd 2014



244 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNPbm-msjZwhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNPbm-msjZw

Great example of Chris Thile's endless talent. Tounge and cheek song, yet with virtuosic realization.



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