Why Should The Fire Die?

Why Should The Fire Die?

4.3 8
by Nickel Creek
     
 

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Nickel Creek is a band that prides itself not on rising to the challenge but rather on redefining the challenge each time out. A theme burns through the trio's third album, Why Should the Fire Die? as nearly every tune addresses troubled relationships. Setting a fitting ambiance for some wrenching interior monologues that reflect on love gone awry, producersSee more details below

Overview

Nickel Creek is a band that prides itself not on rising to the challenge but rather on redefining the challenge each time out. A theme burns through the trio's third album, Why Should the Fire Die? as nearly every tune addresses troubled relationships. Setting a fitting ambiance for some wrenching interior monologues that reflect on love gone awry, producers Eric Valentine and Tony Berg sculpt a dense soundscape rich with sonic buzzes, clicks, sighs, and bleeps that serve as an electronic Greek chorus signaling another romance shorting out. Chris Thile's writing continues to grow more cutting and more beautifully restrained -- check out the mating of craft and passion on the lilting, dirge-like "Jealous of the Moon" and the intricately layered "Can't Complain," with its twin finger-picked guitars and delicate harmonies giving way to a flurry of furious stringed dissonance that sets up Thile for a big finish in which his airy voice surges into a near-scream. Sean Watkins checks in memorably with "Somebody Like You," an angry, thumping kiss-off from someone who's been used and dumped, with vitriol to spare. His sister Sara offers her own take on love in "Anthony," which is winsome in a Kasey Chambers heartbreaker way and slightly bent in a Leonard Cohen kind of way. The vibrant instrumentals extend the theme, reflecting emotional turmoil ("Sugar & Chocolate"), elation (the countrified "Stumptown"), and resignation ("First and Last Waltz"). The payoff is in the album-closing title cut, a lovely folk-styled tune with gentle finger picking and breathy harmonies in which Thile sings wistfully of the elusiveness of lasting passion. Sounds like the setup for a sequel.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Christopher Monger
Few aspiring bluegrass artists have tackled the genre as unpredictably as Nickel Creek. For their third offering, the precocious trio have ditched longtime producer Alison Krauss in favor of Tony Berg and Eric Valentine (Smash Mouth, Queens of the Stone Age, Good Charlotte), and quietly crafted one of the most explosive acoustic records of the year. Longtime fans who were mystified by Chris Thile's experimental 2004 solo release Deceiver may cock their collective heads in dismay, but those who appreciate the group's searing musicianship, orgasmic harmonies, and genre-bending arrangements will no doubt wear out their copies of Why Should the Fire Die? within the first month of ownership. Darker, colder, and infinitely more aggressive than their previous offerings, WSTFD is -- in spirit only -- the progressive bluegrass/folk-pop genre's reply to Radiohead's Kid A. "When in Rome," with its radio signal crackle and full-band boot stomps asks, "Where can a dead man go/A question with an answer only dead men know." It's a chilly way to open a record, but it's also a declaration of independence from three friends who have known nothing but the stage since they were in single digits, and are determined to meet their mid-twenties head on. There's a newfound penchant for percussion throughout WSTFD that's not nearly as invasive as purists might think. While the ferocious "Helena" is the only track that features actual drums, bassist Mark Schatz is veritable one-man drum corps, dropping sinister slides and buzz-filled ringers that when paired with Thile and Sean Watkins's mandolin/mandola/guitar work is pure analogue thunder. This combination is at its most effective on the moody Gillian Welch-meets-the Beach Boys majesty of the album's brooding centerpiece, "Eveline." A masterful display of dynamics, it blurs the line between pop, progressive rock, and country with a magic marker the size of Texas. Even the more traditional numbers like "Jealous of the Moon," "Can't Complain," and "Tomorrow Is a Long Time" -- the latter, sung by the honey-throated Sara Watkins, proves once and for all that Bob Dylan songs were placed on this earth to be interpreted by others -- are infused with the kind of electricity usually reserved for bands with vintage amplifiers and substance abuse problems. Why Should the Fire Die? is a brave album that warrants more than a passing glance from country and bluegrass purists, and the full support of the indie rock/folk/pop community.
Entertainment Weekly - Greg Kot
If O Brother, Where Art Thou? cracked open the door to bluegrass' past for a new generation, Nickel Creek are bent on giving it a future. (A-)

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Product Details

Release Date:
08/09/2005
Label:
Sugarhill
UPC:
0015891399027
Rank:
90257

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Nickel Creek   Primary Artist
Mark Schatz   Bass,Foot Stomping,Group Member
Eric Valentine   Drums
Chris Thile   Banjo,Bouzouki,Guitar,Mandolin,Vocals,Mandola,Foot Stomping,Guitar (Tenor),Vocal Harmony,Group Member
Sara Watkins   Fiddle,Vocals,Foot Stomping,Vocal Harmony,Group Member
Sean Watkins   Bouzouki,Guitar,Piano,Background Vocals,12-string Guitar,Foot Stomping,Vocal Harmony,Guitar (Baritone),Group Member

Technical Credits

Bob Dylan   Composer
Tony Berg   Producer,Audio Production
Gary Louris   Composer
Eric Valentine   Producer,Engineer,Mastering,Audio Production
Chris Thile   Composer
Sara Watkins   Composer
Sean Watkins   Composer

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