Punch Brothers' New Album Shows "Why They Are So Special," Says the Guardian; "This Is a Remarkable Band" (Four Stars)
Punch Brothers' new album, Who's Feeling Young Now?, is out in just a matter of days, and the press in the UK, where the album is out on Monday, has already begun to weigh in, with the Guardian, the Sun, Scotland's Daily Express, and Maverick all giving the album four-star reviews.
"Last month, this outrageously virtuosic and experimental bluegrass-pop-jazz band from New York turned up at a small London venue and gave what will surely be one of the most memorable concerts of the year," raves the Guardian's Robin Denselow, referencing their recent show at Bush Hall to which he had also give four stars. The new album shows "why they are so special," says Denselow. "There are fine, unexpectedly jaunty melodies here, but they come wrapped in complex arrangements, as fiddle, banjo and guitar weave around the remarkable mandolin work and sometimes more fragile vocals of Chris Thile ...There's even an edgy treatment of Radiohead's 'Kid A.' This is a remarkable band."
The Sun says that "genuine youthful vigour abounds as the band continue their mission to bring bluegrass into the 21st century with progressive, jazz-inflected songs." The review goes on to say of that repertoire: "Thrilling originals are joined by an imaginative unplugged take on Radiohead's 'Kid A' and a real virtuoso cover of 'Flippen' by Swedish band Väsen." The Sun concludes: "Nicely off-kilter yet bang on the money." Read the review in today's Sun.
"The description for this band's music is progressive bluegrass, but that only scratches the surface," says Scotland's Daily Express in its four-star review. "These highly accomplished musicians stretch the musical boundaries ..."
Highlights from the band's performance at Celtic Connections in Glasgow aired on BBC Radio 2 earlier this week and can be heard online at bbc.co.uk. Now, more of the set, including a number of tracks from the new album, can be heard on BBC Radio 3 for tonight's episode of World on 3, airing at 11 PM GMT and online at bbc.co.uk.
Back in the States, where Who's Feeling Young Now? is out on Tuesday, the Aspen Times' Stewart Oksenhorn calls the band "the next step in the evolution of acoustic string-band music" and this "the biggest step yet." Referencing both their take on Radiohead's "Kid A" and the Punch Brothers-penned tunes influenced by that band, Oksenhorn explains: "Punch Brothers are exhibiting the sort of freedom that Radiohead brings to the music—a willingness to rethink structure, melody and tradition. They don't break down boundaries, but play as if there were no boundaries to contend with, like music was a clean canvas."
Read the complete album review at aspentimes.com.
There's still time to pre-order Who's Feeling Young Now? in the Nonesuch Store and receive the exclusive set of five custom Punch Brothers paper coasters illustrated by New Yorker cartoonist Matthew Diffee and signed by the band. Orders also include high-quality, 320 kbps MP3s of the album available release day.