Punch

( 1 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
On Chris Thile's previous album with the band now known as the Punch Brothers -- that would be his "solo" disc, How to Grow a Woman from the Ground -- the Nickel Creek mandolinist contributed a desultory, heartrending song titled "I'm Yours if You Want Me." The person to whom that song was addressed had already answered no, thus laying the groundwork for Punch, Thile's in-depth, anguished account of the collapse of his marriage. Not that it's a downer. By and large, the music soars and sprints along on wings of breathtaking virtuosity by the assembled quintet (Chris Eldridge, guitar; Greg Garrison, bass; Noam Pikelny, banjo; and Gabe Witcher, fiddle). The high-energy ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
On Chris Thile's previous album with the band now known as the Punch Brothers -- that would be his "solo" disc, How to Grow a Woman from the Ground -- the Nickel Creek mandolinist contributed a desultory, heartrending song titled "I'm Yours if You Want Me." The person to whom that song was addressed had already answered no, thus laying the groundwork for Punch, Thile's in-depth, anguished account of the collapse of his marriage. Not that it's a downer. By and large, the music soars and sprints along on wings of breathtaking virtuosity by the assembled quintet (Chris Eldridge, guitar; Greg Garrison, bass; Noam Pikelny, banjo; and Gabe Witcher, fiddle). The high-energy newgrass opener, "Punch Bowl," boasts some catchy Beatles-like harmonic changes in the verses and allows Thile to demonstrate some newfound vocal strength, as he belts out the lyrics in a sturdy, assured timbre he's mostly kept under wraps. But the heart of Punch -- a signal moment both in Thile's career and in the annals of contemporary bluegrass -- is the four-movement suite titled "The Blind Leaving the Blind," a forensic investigation into the artist's matrimonial debacle. Compositionally, "The Blind" is a tour de force, featuring stirring passages of intricate instrumental dialogues, bold soloing, rousing ensemble interludes, and abrupt shifts in texture that evoke the thin line between love and hate. The whole enterprise is more than 40 minutes in length and is, despite its frank accounts of heartbreak, betrayal, rage, and conciliation, surprisingly buoyant, even celebratory at times, perhaps to underscore Thile's healing sense of personal renewal. As his history makes clear, where Chris Thile goes from here is anybody's guess, but he will get there. As his second album's title had it, not all who wander are lost.
All Music Guide - James Christopher Monger
Chris Thile's first post-Nickel Creek band project (the ultra-prolific, former child prodigy has been releasing solo albums since 1994) builds upon the darker, more challenging moments of 2005's Why Should the Fire Die?, drifting further into the ultra-progressive bluegrass that has become his forté since expanding his repertoire from young mandolin virtuoso to genre-bending, new acoustic trailblazer. The Punch Brothers consist of Thile at the wheel, fiddler Gabe Witcher, guitarist Chris Eldridge, banjo player Noam Pikelny, and bassist Greg Garrison, all of whom share their bandleader's impeccable chops and unpredictability. The group's heady debut begins innocently enough with the serpentine yet reasonably catchy "Punch Bowl," a song that wouldn't have sounded out of place on Strength in Numbers' Telluride Sessions, but from there, things take a left turn (this is a band that routinely works covers of Radiohead and the Strokes into their live set), and a rewarding one at that. Thile's four movement/forty-minute "Blind Leading the Blind" suite is heavy (as in divorce, loss, love, and redemption heavy), but it's also exhilarating. It ebbs and flows with little concern for conventional structure or traditional narrative, bursting into frenetic picking and dissolving into gentle harmonics whenever it chooses, layering even-handed, vibrato-free sections of close harmony singing over increasingly dissonant chord progressions that warrant repeated listens even as they unfold. It's a bold move, and one that straddles pretense all the way through without ever succumbing. Traditional bluegrass fans will no doubt require multiple mugs of Punch, and even then they may never quite get it, but if you relish the idea of Béla Fleck, Turtle Island String Quartet, and Jim O'Rourke getting together for a friendly meal of reconstruction and catharsis, then your dinner is most certainly ready.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/26/2008
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • UPC: 075597998283
  • Catalog Number: 181732
  • Sales rank: 14,583

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Punch Brothers Primary Artist
Chris Thile Mandolin, Vocals
Gabe Witcher Fiddle, Vocals
Greg Garrison Bass, Bass Guitar, Vocals
Noam Pikelny Banjo, Vocals
Chris Eldridge Guitar, Vocals
Chris Elridge Guitar
Technical Credits
Robert Hurwitz Executive Producer
Richard King Engineer
Chris Thile Composer
Gabe Witcher Composer
Autumn de Wilde Cover Photo
Greg Garrison Composer
Noam Pikelny Composer
Punch Brothers Composer
Steven Epstein Producer, Audio Production
Steve Epstiein Audio Production
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Original & Amazing!

    Finally! One of the few actually creative "bands" around. It's rare to hear a group put together a sound that is unique and oddly inspiring. I recommend this to anyone who has an ear for music like Frank Zappa and Arthur Brown.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews