On October 29, 2010 by Doc DW Perry

Here’s something special: Punch Brothers’ latest CD, Antifogmatic, offers traditional instrumentation and extremely strong songwriting, yet in surprising contexts. If at any point anyone in the band, led by Nickel Creek’s erstwhile enfant terrible, Chris Thile, play their instrument conventionally, it is merely to make the next bar’s surprise all the more strange. Familiar filling riffs bend and squeeze themselves into new shapes, but more than that: here’s a banjo played as if it’s in a contemporary jazz band, or a mandolin performing startling percussive duties; here’s a song whose structure and lyrics just shouldn’t work, and yet one which is executed as catchily as any three-chord strum. In the producer’s chair is Jon Brion, which explains some of the magic worked in this album’s ten tracks, but in truth this is album produced by a band with total mastery of their instruments and chosen form. This will be on the show soon, and thoroughly deserves to break out of the Newgrass ghetto.

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