Who's Feeling Young Now?
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56 of 60 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2012
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.

- Two out of the twelve tracks on this album are purely instrumental, and one of them is an acoustic infused cover of a song by Radiohead...so perhaps fans of Radiohead will also find something to like here as well.

- This album contains speedy, virtuoso picking and playing throughout - which I imagine adds up to several mid-song applause-worthy moments during a live show.

- The lead vocals slide into falsetto on a handful of moments throughout the record, which seems to be kind of a rare thing for music with bluegrass roots...

- If you enjoy roots music and a bit of drama with a punky rock and roll attitude, then you'll feel right at home with Punch Brothers.

Sincerely,

Constant Listener
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2012
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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2012
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. The real surprise is that the very first cut, Movement and Location has become a favorite. I now have this slide show in my mind of Thile at 23, having spent his whole life on what he truly loves, the technical precision of playing the Mandolin, just starting his serious journey into the complexity of human relationships. It sums up so much about him. Of course I am just guessing, but for those who watch his video on playing the mandolin and try to hit your spots, remember the thrill of playing is the goal.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
As a listener for the past couple years, I have seen the Punch Brothers transform. How to Grow a Woman from the Ground featured traditional bluegrass. Punch moved to something more classical. Antifogmatic was off the beaten path and sometimes too discordant even for me. Who's Feeling Young Now? might be their masterpiece to date, because it's a perfect mixture of all their previous styles with a ballsy modern twist.

The opening number, "Movement and Location," has a fast beat and ghoulish vocals. Thile almost sounds like he's singing in a cave, and the band intentionally goes off beat in certain segments. The album's namesake feels angry--the chords, the vocals, and the lyrics--but it is one of the more approachable songs for a Punch Brothers newbie. "Flippen" harkens back to their first album, while "Patchwork Girlfriend" feels reminiscent of Squirrel Nut Zippers.

My favorite tune is "Soon or Never"--the quiet, sad song, featuring the dancing melody of Witcher's violin. The bonus is a cover of Radiohead's "Kid A", and it's even better than the original.

A word of warning, however: the Punch Brothers are not a bluegrass band, so don't expect them to be. I'm not saying it's a bad thing. I love the way they've evolved over the years, and this album in particular shows their development as musicians and as a band. Thile's voice has never sounded better, and guitarist Eldrige and bassist Kowert have figured out ingenious ways to make their instruments play percussion. I was most impressed by the violin/fiddle-playing of Witcher. True, I'm partial to violin, but honestly, anyone can admire the guy's skill on this album, where he seems to be the featured performer.

Maybe that's what makes this album feel slightly different than the others. In the beginning, it was the name "Chris Thile" that made me want to see the Punch Brothers. Now, the band has become a complete entity, with no single performer running the show. They have created a cohesive, unique sound. Will they get radio play this time around? Doubtful. Their music is too interesting for the mass populace. They'll get plenty of airtime around my house, though, since this might be my new favorite album.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Imagine a music cd where there are actually musicians playing technically difficult instruments AND singing thoughtful, well fleshed out lyrics, and changing tempo whenever the hell they feel like it. That CD would be Who's Feeling Young Now by Punch Brothers. At first listen, I found it to be a bit too blue-grassish for my taste, but I stuck it out and was just blown away by the talent that is on display here. "Clara" is handsdown my favorite song, followed by the title song, Who's Feeling Young Now. It reminds me of some of Michael Franks work, and yet the style would be welcome even on a Talking Heads CD. For me, the most satisfying music just bucks all trends, and creates sounds/sound scapes that may not make sense at first (or even second listen). And then you realize what the artist is sharing with us...something intensely personal yet baring it all for us to enjoy. I'm not going to mention all the songs on here...of course some are better than others, yet the 2 I mentioned are SOOOOOOO good, it's worth a download even if just for those 2 songs. So download it, break out your favorite cans, pump up the volume to moderate levels, and enjoy what true musicianship sounds like.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2012
At times it feels like an unplugged album by a Rock'n Roll band. Other songs hint at the Irish roots of Bluegrass. And sometimes the Brothers just sound like good old fashioned balladeers. Whatever category it is one never succeeds in labeling the Punch Brothers with, "Who's feeling young now" is always fresh, and full of a focussed creative energy, which makes it their most balanced and most accessible album yet. Gone are the days of "The blind leaving the blind", Thile's gloomy, partly atonal symphonic piece, which, recuperating from a painful divorce, he composed for the Brothers in 2008, and which mostly left audiences baffled and at a loss.
"Who's feeling young now" shows a band sure of its powers. Like the music and the incredible interaction of these young players, the lyrics are intelligent and multi-layered throughout. Having been a fan of Chris Thile for years, I personally would have liked to hear a litte more of his virtuoso mandolin playing, but that doesn't keep me from giving "Who's feeling young now" 5 shining stars.
PS. If you get a chance to see them live: Go!
These guys kick ass.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 26, 2012
Once again I have purchased a work by Chris Thile and the Punch Brothers and have noticed a pattern. At first, a little unsure if I am down with what I am hearing... but from past experience have learned to give a few listens and despite the stunning musicianship; to listen to the lyrics. At around listen 5, I am slayed and listen to nothing else... except to dive back into some previous works of the same origin.

The Punch Brothers have no equal or even genre partners that I can tell. Truly to their own, delving into musical and interpersonal matters with unparalleled honesty, openness and emotion. Re-defining "power" in music...as this instrumentation betrays the wall of sound that modern music has long become with an airy, organic sound that does not numb but opens without overwhelming. At first listen ... maybe they missed the mark a bit with this one... now I wonder how can they keep this building process going because this is definitely the best of the lot.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I didn't think it was possible for Chris Thile and the Punch Brothers to produce anything better than their last CD, Antifogmatic. But I was wrong because they truly did! Who's Feeling Young Now? is a real masterpiece! I must have listened to it at least 50 times since I got it about three weeks ago. And it gets better every time every time I hear it. The Punch Brothers is one of the greatest bands I have seen and/or heard live or on CD in the last 30 years. Check them on YouTube if you don't believe me... Then get buy album. You will not regret it! (Thanks, Punch Brothers!!!)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2012
There first album was amazing.. the next "antifogmatic" is hands down one of my favorite albums of all time and so is this one .. ALREADY! antifogmatic is a very experimental album that even took myself alittle time to fully grasp.. at times i got alittle bored and would change the song right before it picked up.. usually because there was an impatient listener in my car with me. once i got it , i GOT it tho. with this album there is no way your going to be skimming through songs.. my only complaint is its alittle short. im going to see them in sf on the 8th.. cant wait! buy this album along with antifogmatic! youll be glad you did!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2012
This is the fourth addition to Punch Brothers discogrophy (third under the name "Punch Brothers"), and is like nothing I've ever heard before. First of all, the cumulative talent that is Punch Brothers adds up and adds up until it's almost incomprehendable, these are honestly some of the best musicians alive today (opinion). Chris Thile (songwriter/mandolinist/lead vocals) describes Punch Brothers as "a bluegrass band that doesn't play bluegrass." Though Punch Brothers certainly have the ability to play bluegrass, which is evident in their song "Flippen", not to mention their entire first album, How to Grow a Woman From the Ground. But Who's Feeling Young Now? focuses on a style of music that (as far as I know) only the Punch Brothers play. From the gypsy-like Patchwork Girlfriend, to the rocking title track, to Sooner Or Never, I was sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to see what they were going to do next. The album never focuses to long on one aspect of the music, when harmony is needed it's there, when the abstract is needed you have it, but also when structure and hook is needed you'll find it right around the corner. The combination of these things makes this album incredibly unique and gives it really high playback value, each time I hear the album I find something completely new. Also, Kid A by Radiohead is covered on this album, I feel like the Punch Brothers did this simply to prove they can, as if all they wanted was to be able to say: "Hi, we're Punch Brothers, we're going to cover Kid A with a mandolin, banjo, fiddle, acoustic guitar, and bass, and it's going to sound really good." Because, quite frankly, that's what they did. That's not all they did with Who's Feeling Young Now? though, they also proved that no matter how over-populated the internet is with bands, music can still go somewhere completely new without sacrificing musical talent and entegrity.
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