Sunday, September 04, 2005

nickel creek - why should the fire die? [album review]

[Sugar Hill]

Banjos have become pretty trendy in indie music of late (think Iron & Wine or Devendra Banhart), but Nickel Creek aren’t about the latest fashion. Their country infused indie rock is unabashed and genuine. Banjo plucks and percussive guitars take the foreground without sacrificing harmonies – which are what this three piece do best. Strong songwriting and intricately arranged instrumentation make this Gillian Welsh-recalling album elegant and mature. The 14 tracks are generally sentimental, sometimes spooky and sometimes dramatic. But some parts are just so overly country that many might find it hard to avoid cringing. Other parts, though, are unignorably beautiful, subtle, and heartfelt – making this is a good album for both country/bluegrass purists and fans of indie pop and folk alike, even if the album mostly leans to the former. Besides – maybe a little bluegrass is just what you needed.

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