Who’s Feeling Young Now?

On May 3, 2012 by Doc DW Perry

One of my first posts on this, the most intermittent of blogs on the internet, was about Punch Brothers’ quirkily creative album, Antifogmatic. Here’s what I said about it:

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.

A number of tunes on that record – ‘You Are’, ‘Alex’, ‘Rye Whiskey’, and ‘Next To The Trash’ – have stayed with me. When Queasy Joe told me he’d been listening to the band’s follow-up, Who’s Feeling Young Now?, and that it was better than its predecessor, I was therefore pretty darned excited.

I should have known better. [/obligatory Nickel Creek reference]

QJ was never as big a fan of Antifogmatic as I was – for him, it crossed over into the borderlands of pretension once too often (he and I place that boundary at different places on the map – mine is way further east). For me, Who’s Feeling Young Now? seems like a step down in terms of invention. I’m happy to accept this may simply be because Jacquire King’s production isn’t as expert as Jon Brion’s, but the record feels flatter regardless. On the other hand, flatter means more consistent, so I can see where my banjo-pickin’ compadre is comming from.

But that doesn’t make him right.

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