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Who's Feeling Young Now?

4.5 out of 5 stars 92 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 14, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

Punch Brothers, Who's Feeling Young Now?
By Michael Hill

The title of the third Punch Brothers disc for Nonesuch, borrowed from one of their new songs, is more an exhortation than a taunt. Who s Feeling Young Now?, produced and engineered by Jacquire King, contains some of the most exhilaratingly direct, sonically daring performances the group has ever recorded. As the five members, ranging in age from their mid-20s to early 30s, have matured together on the road and in the studio, their approach to writing and performing has, conversely, become looser, simpler, and, in a sense, more unaffectedly youthful. In fact, the title song featuring rumbling bass, skittering violin, and wailing multi-tracked vocals sounds like hard-charging string-band punk rock. Opening track Movement and Location feels like Steve Reich inspired indie rock, with rhythmically pulsing guitar, bass, and banjo lines and the same flying-by-the-seat-of-the-pants spirit. It came together over a matter of minutes in mandolinist/singer Chris Thile s living room. At this point, virtuosity is a given among these already prodigious players; the operative word for Who s Feeling Young Now? is camaraderie.

I think we re a lot more comfortable now playing to our strengths and our bluegrass roots, says guitarist Chris Eldridge. We kind of came around to a place where that was something we were just as willing to present to the world it s obviously part of who we are, always has been but I feel we ve been a little reticent, as if playing a simple bluegrass song wasn t enough. We ve gotten a lot more comfortable in our skin.

In 2006, former Nickel Creek member Thile instigated the collaboration that evolved into Punch Brothers when he recruited Eldridge, banjo player Noam Pikelny, and violinist Gabe Witcher to back him on a solo album, How to Grow a Woman; bassist Paul Kowert joined the band three years later. They officially became Punch Brothers, releasing a debut album, Punch, on Nonesuch in 2008. Since then, says Thile, Punch Brothers has gradually evolved from a band that existed to present the ideas of one guy into a band presenting the unified idea of five guys. I had a very clear vision for The Blind Leaving the Blind and I m very proud how that turned out, but the reason to put yourself in this kind of situation is to have the opportunity to present a real sense of community to other people. When there are five dudes up there doing something as a unit that encourages people to participate, that s where Punch Brothers is exhibiting a lot of growth. We can actually bring a sense of real musical camaraderie, creative camaraderie, to people who come to our shows and those who listen to the records.
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Digital Booklet: Who's Feeling Young Now?
Digital Booklet: Who's Feeling Young Now?
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 14, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B006M4RP4C
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,289 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Dear Music Appreciators,

I'm writing to inform you that I have listened to the new album by Punch Brothers entitled WHO'S FEELING YOUNG NOW? and that I have found it safe for consumption by the general music-appreciating public. Here are some things you might appreciate knowing before you press that play button:

- This is not ordinary music and these are not ordinary songs. Every song has something to set it slightly off kilter, to set it apart from other more ordinary/conventional/popular/top forty types of songs. Unexpected twists and turns in tempo, melody, lyrics and volume keep things fresh, interesting, and unique. Throughout much of the album there is a sort of side to side, push/pull, up/down dynamic that gives a general feeling of some kind of a journey through changing terrain - perhaps over an ocean with moments of storm and calm, with natural changes in the waves and the wind and the sun and the moon...

- This is a style of music sometimes referred to as "New Acoustic." which means that if you generally enjoy hearing acoustic instruments (especially in a folk, country, or bluegrass style) and if you generally appreciate relatively new/fresh/unique approaches to traditional instruments/styles/themes then you will probably like the music on this album.

- Although the music of Punch Brothers seems to carry its own unique stamp, everybody loves comparisons. I can only speak to the music in my personal collection, but I think it's safe to say that fans of Rodrigo y Gabriela, The Avett Brothers, Alison Krauss and Union Station (those who are more open-minded), Nickel Creek (obviously) and maybe even fans of guys like Johnny Flynn will all find something to like here.
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Format: Audio CD
If you like the twists, turns unexpected chord changes and intricate melodies of progressive rock and jazz fusion, AND if you enjoy folk/bluegrass/Americana... this album might be just for you!

The singing and playing are superb. Traditional bluegrass instrumentation is used, with mandolin, violin, guitar, banjo and standup bass. Chris Thile is the mandolinist and singer, and he and his bandmates sound thoroughly inspired throughout this recording. It is hard to recommend any one song from this recording, because all are vibrant and innovative. The instrumental "Flippen" is stunning in its virtuosity and arrangement, while "This Girl" is a more conventional kind of song; and if you think it impossible that a band with bluegrass instrumentation can pull of a great cover of Radiohead's song "Kid A", think again! All the songs on the album are so worthy that it's hard to pick a favorite.

The songs tend to not be of the traditional verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-verse-chorus variety, but are constructed in creative ways that show a rethinking of how songs can be written. Some listeners may find this jarring, but I think most people who appreciate good music (especially the kind that can make you think AND feel good at the same time) will fall in love with this band at first listen, as I have.

I don't know if they are "the next big thing" or not, but that doesn't matter so much to me. What matters is that they are suddenly a big thing for me right now, and it's going to be tough to get their disc out of my CD player. I may need a crowbar!

Check them out, you will not be disappointed!
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I have been following the Thile mystery tour for 12 years now and it never ceases to be refreshing and fun. Who's Feeling Young Now's refresh involves playing together and creating recognizable grooves that invite repeat listens. That one could do this with acoustic instruments is really quite astonishing. Gabe's violin sounds like a wailing guitar, but different. The Chops of acoustic strings and bass create a strong foundational ooomph that make you tap your foot in ways that are more like a Tupac groove than a bluegrass stomp. The grooves are mostly slower, jaunty, catchy and actually simpler than a lot of what Thile has done before.

But of course there are radical departures from the rhythm and groove aspects I just described. Cut 6 is really a traditional Thile / NickleCreek / PB instrumental(Flippen). Some of the slower numbers sound like they came right off of "Why Should the Fire Die?"

This is also a themed album and much closer to the Thile exploration of faith, loss and love that was so prominent in Punch. The first 5 songs are really all prayers or meditations and honestly, pretty challenging to the almighty . There is a fair amount of Thile Angst, but also some lighthearted fun in the prayers. Cut 6 is the cleansing drink before the 5 songs which are mainly about women and love of things earthly. I even found the 2nd instrumental consistent with the confusion women create, but I, after all, am a guy .

While I loved Antifogmatic, it seemed less cohesive than this release. I find myself less challenged by this recording and find it more compelling.

(update after 50 listens). This is my favorite Thile release since "Not all who wander are lost. Fun, stimulating and thoughtful.
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