Deceiver

Deceiver

5.0 1
by Chris Thile
     
 
The latest solo disc from Nickel Creek wunderkind Chris Thile finds the newgrass pioneer branching out, even by his own standards. On Deceiver, the 23-year-old not only plays all the instruments, sings all the vocals, and co-produces; he also ups the musical intensity, offering tunes that match the fractured psyche revealed in his

Overview

The latest solo disc from Nickel Creek wunderkind Chris Thile finds the newgrass pioneer branching out, even by his own standards. On Deceiver, the 23-year-old not only plays all the instruments, sings all the vocals, and co-produces; he also ups the musical intensity, offering tunes that match the fractured psyche revealed in his lyrics. In contrast to the tender, acoustic meditations dotting his previous solo outing, All Who Wander Are Not Lost, here Thile pairs lyrics such as "nothing feels good unless I've felt it before" and "I'm enchanted by a way of life in disrepair" with abrupt tempo changes, layers of electric and acoustic instruments, and dramatic protests from various instrumental combinations, including string quartets reminiscent of the Beatles. The Fab Four turn out to be a big influence on Deceiver. Thile is fed up with himself, searching for answers to an existential crisis, and his deeply intimate and searing interior monologues resemble an embryonic version of John Lennon's first solo album. On "Empire Falls," an intense tale of psychic displacement, a grungy rock guitar leads the way to a Beatlesque harmony passage that suddenly appears in a chorus. Elsewhere, Thile flaunts the instrumental acumen he's been known for since his preteen years, as on such mandolin-led instrumentals as the wistful "Waltz for DeWayne Pomeroy" and the bright, buoyant "Jessamyn's Reel." More typical, however, is "The Wrong Idea," on which a quiet acoustic piano and mandolin frame a story about adolescent angst but soon give way to distorted guitars and pounding percussion as the lyrical stakes rise. Deceiver is complex and challenging on every level, and its young auteur sounds like he's got a line on some hard truths his peers haven't even approached yet.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Ronnie D. Lankford
Nickel Creek -- the group and the individual members -- have become something of a cottage industry, releasing multiple albums in multiple styles. Chris Thile's latest -- Deceiver -- is something of a surprise because his previous solo releases have concentrated on his hotshot mandolin picking. Now, he follows in the musical footsteps of Nickel Creek's last album, This Side, a half-experimental project that qualified as exceptionally innovative bluegrass. The approach, combining personal songwriting with studio techniques (think mid-'60s Beatles with a bluegrass background), jumps the hurdle that keeps most bluegrass bands -- traditional and progressive -- sounding pretty much like the bands that have come before them. Thile's Deceiver is even more experimental than This Side, as though he's been listening to the Bad Livers along with the Beatles. While the impulse is an enticing one, and while the musical results are often intriguing, the project seems more like a collage of fragments than an artistic whole. The album kicks off with what sounds like a baldly confessional ballad about falling in love with an underage girl. "The Wrong Idea" is, musically speaking, one of the best pieces on the album, though the lyric is a bit embarrassing. "On Ice" is another love song that starts strong, but it begins to meander at the two-minute mark. Here and at other places on Deceiver, Thile adds experimental odds and ends that don't really fit with the song. He may return to the same melodic theme at the song's end, but it's a little like calling anything you put between two pieces of bread a sandwich. Deceiver also shifts radically from song to song, jumping from quiet instrumentals like "Waltz for Dewayne Pomeroy" to alternative rock like "Empire Falls." Perhaps the project would've benefited from a tighter production, something to bring Thile's ideas to full fruition. Still, fans of Nickel Creek's last album will appreciate Deceiver's progressive strains, and prefer an imperfect product over yet another predictable bluegrass album.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/12/2004
Label:
Sugarhill
UPC:
0015891397627
catalogNumber:
3976
Rank:
61297

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Deceiver 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's a different side of Chris Thilie; more rock sounding. But he's still a genius when it comes to creating music and lyrics. His songs are so poetically written, his music is toe-tapping, sensational stuff. I've been repeating it over and over since I bought it. Any music lover would have to add this cd to their collection- otherwise you'll be missing out!