Saturday, December 29, 2012

Punch Brothers
"Who's Feeling Young Now?" (CD)

If you ever find yourself trapped in a car for a long drive (say, 1,000 miles or so) whatever singular CD you happen to have in the stereo will have to become your favorite music.  At least for the next 1,000 miles.

Such as it is with the Punch Brothers' latest album, released in February of 2012.   Sadly, I just got my grubby paws on it for Christmas.  Better late than never.
I watched the Punch Brothers' performance on "Austin City Limits" this year and knew that several of the tunes they were performing were from this album - most noticeably, the lead-off track, "Movement and Location" which has the sort of hypnotic patterns more commonly associated with experimental rock than with bluegrass.

That leads me to my main conclusion: the Punch Brothers are quickly becoming another incarnation of the musical spirit that gave us Radiohead.  The comparison is cheap right now, since PB actually cover Radiohead's "Kid A" on this album, but at its core, the Punch Brothers are defying and bending musical expectations in any direction they can find - there are a couple of tunes that sound traditional ("Patchwork Girlfriend") but you add in "Kid A" and "Who's Feeling Young Now?" and you realize that the Punch Brothers are far more interested in being taken seriously in any musical community; the only difference is that anything you hear on the record can be re-produced by the five musicians on stage acoustically.

This belongs in my best-of list for 2012.

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