23 of 31 people found the following review helpful
still not up to their enormous talent,
By A Customer
This review is from: This Side (Audio CD)
First statement: on balance, i like this disk. It is worlds better than 95% of what you hear on the radio or see on videos. Anything by these prodigiously talented young people HAS to be at least good.
Second statement: I am NOT a "bluegrass purist". Any problems I have w this disk are NOT because I am a "purist."I have followed progressive bluegrass (not an oxymoron!) for over 20 years. I've been waiting for the last 10 for a new talented young band to come along & take the music to a new audience. I remain convinced that Nickel Creek IS that band. They're that good.
Therein lies the problem: this album is GOOD, but is still not delivering the full potential of this band. There are few standout tracks here. Most are either gimmicky (Sabra Song, Should've Known Better, & the oh-so-self-conscious attempt at a Beatles pop tune, Spit on a Stranger) or just flat boring (Young, House Carpenter).
There are some highlights. Sean Watkins FINALLY takes a turn at singing lead & writing & delivers the best track of disk on the title track. Green & Grey is a perfectly nice tune. And Smoothie Song, the ONLY instrumental (another disappointment) features spirited riffing by the amazing Chris Thile, along w Edgar Meyer making an appearance bowing his double bass.
Part of the problem may lie with producer Alison Krauss. She has Sara Watkins pigeon holed into the breathy, little girl vocals that she herself favors (see Stars on New Favorite for an example). She seems to indulge the group every whim, or maybe encouraged them. Annoying whispered spoken vocals underlying a track? Sure, kids, sounds good to me. Beatles-like strings? Go for it! A new producer for the next disk would be welcome.
Perhaps I am like the teacher who judges the gifted student more harshly, b/c he/she is aware just how much MORE this talented student can accomplish. We should take joy in the fact that there is room for these gifted musicians, who clearly have shown a willingness to stretch out & try new things, to grow still further. I mean, would we want them to release THE PERFECT DISK at this early stage in their career? then we'd be judging evreything they do from here on out as disappointing. So enjoy the good stuff, cherish Chris Thile's All Who Wander are not Lost, in which he DOES deliver on his full potential as an instrumentalist, & look forward to future growth from this band of wunderkinds.