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VINE VOICEon 13 September 2005
Being a long time 'Creek fan, I must admit I was intrigued when I heard that Alison Krauss wasn't producing this record, and instead Eric Valentine (Queens of the stone age, Good charlotte) was taking the helm. Given the previous form, I wondered if we were going to see NC 'do a Dylan' and go electric - which would have been interesting! - but the 'Creek are all about progressive acoustic music and none more so progressive as this record.
Instead Valentine has managed to pull a Rick Rubin and has drawn out the rock sensibilities of the new material, whilst using the acoustic sound to push it as something altogether more powerful and broader on the soundscape. As Sean Watkins once said himself, 'if you play an Eminor chord through a stack of Marshalls, it's easy to sound angry, you have to be more imaginitive in getting that across on acoustic instruments'.
The feel of the album itself is a lot darker than previous records, although parts of 'This side' were hinting at it. They have evolved as story tellers, and the once metaphoric, 'cloak and dagger' lyrics are now poetically stark. Thile's voice has developed a gritty edge that does a lot more for this material than his youthfully exuberant vocal would have done. His writing is the major showcase on this album too - and echoing his latest solo effort 'Deceiver', it brings most of the darkness to the record.
Sara Watkins voice has come the longest way, from sweet and innocent Krauss-alike to a confident, rockier, mature sounding lady. She sounds like she has 'found' her voice on this record and isn't scared to use it! The fresh cover of an old Dylan song is the best display of this.
My major criticism of the album is that Sean Watkins' contributions as a writer and vocalist are limited. I make no secret that I am a fan of his solo work, but bias aside, NC has always been a fairly evenly shared affair and I do feel that Thile has taken the front seat on this one. I also don't feel that the Watkins contribution 'somebody more like you' reflects his best work. At least 2 or 3 Watkins compositions on the next record please!
All in all - an interesting 'coming of age' record from the most exciting young talent around.
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on 22 April 2006
After reading reviews for this CD I bought on spec - had never heard of them before. What an excellent album with lots of different depths to it. The stand out track for me and one that I play to anyone who will listen is "Somebody more like you" the lyrics are really dark but humorous - anyone who has ever fallen out of love will relate to this. Also love Jealous of the Moon and Can't complain. If like me you haven't heard of them I can promise that it is a rewarding and thought-provoking listen to have in the car on a long journey.
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on 29 December 2006
I stumbled across Nickel Creek after reading a review in Mojo. American music has its justifiable critics - but to the list of creative genius that hits the right spot such as Gillian Welch, Tom Petty and Tom Waits now add Nickel Creek. Not that they're anything like those bands. But that's the point. They're like no-one and yet they touch your musical soul. They craft their music - they put what you expect in the right places and add detours into a new places without warning. If I was to sum them up I'd say the bring the influence of Alice in Chains to traditional instruments. Fabulous musicians who create music of intelligence, warmth and sublime virutuosity.

The only sad thing is that they've announced they're to split in 2007. It's a pity. But hey, creating music like this is maybe a once in a lifetime thing anyway.
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on 12 July 2005
When I first heard of the alleged change in style a "coming of age" of Nickel Creek I was concerned that they might lose their way and become diluted amongst an ever expanding musical genre. I put my hand up and admit I was wrong! "Why Should The Fire Die", is in my opinion a great triumph for the trio. Perhaps the recent Mutual Admiration Society collaberations with Glen Philips (formerly from Toad The Wet Sprocket) has helped Nickel Creek to evolve from their Bluegrass roots.
This newest offering their 3rd release on Allison Kraus's "Sugarhill Records", seems to have grown organically. With the sensitivity of bluegrass, the delivery of believable lyrics most rock contempories would give their right arm for and even a technically inspiring mastery worthy of the best improv jazz outfits. In truth Nickel Creek defy any one genre they seem to effortlessly combine two or more musical genres and make it work where so many others have faultered.
I feel comfortabley able to say Why Should The Fire Die is the best album Nickel Creek Have made to date. Get the album. send the kids out to play, draw the drapes and bask in the warmth radiating from "Why Should The Fire Die".
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on 14 July 2006
I have to say that regrettably, for me at least, this Nickel Creek album is a big disappointment.

That this is their first production without Alison Krauss shows.

Creek obviously have their own ideas about where they want to go musically and so they should, but anyone thinking that here is "NewGrass" will be sadly disappointed.

The first track When In Rome shows immediately the edgier direction that Creek have moved toward and this vein continues with most tracks.

Lyrically, some of the tracks are quite obtuse as noted by another reviewer and one wonders if success has made the band feel that the more obtuse the lyric the more success will come.

The best track on the Cd has to be the beautifully rendered Tomorrow is A Long Time.

Sara Watkings deeply innocent vocals capture the mood of the Dylan song superbly and the album is nearly worth the purchase just for this.

The instrumental Scotch&Chocolate is, as always with Creek instrumentals, wonderfully uplifting and full of great musicianship.

Whilst not an out and out Bluegrass fan I nevertheless think that Creek with this album have moved too far away from the genre that defined them as a band that have great musical talent in that direction, and at the same time showing them to be a band that pushed the boundaries of Bluegrass making it edgy and delightful all at once.

No complaints can pitched at them regarding their musicianship as talent like that doesn't die a death with a single album.

Let's hope that further releases will see them move in a different direction from the one that this Cd so openly portrays.

Of course all this is down to personal taste and other reviewers will feel that I am being harsh...each to his own.
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on 13 February 2009
I've been after this CD for a year. My brother heard a track on holiday so I was pleased to get one in very good condition, exactly as adverised. The album is country rock with a hint of Hootie & The Blowfish about it. They are a 3 piece from outside L.A. and I was suprised to see they have released quite a few albums over the years.
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on 30 October 2015
Fabulous Album.
Great musicianship and songwriting.
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on 21 October 2015
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