Antifogmatic (Deluxe Version)

Antifogmatic (Deluxe Version)

Chris Thile has shown a maverick streak ever since his days with Nickel Creek. This gifted bluegrass renegade takes even greater chances on Antifogmatic>, an altogether satisfying successor to the Brothers’ debut album Punch. Thile’s eerie high-tenor vocals and skittering mandolin style sets the tone for this challenging and often startling set. The Appalachian underpinnings of his combo remain evident here, especially on the spirited “Rye Whiskey.” More often than not, though, elements of progressive jazz and European cabaret motifs dominate the music, spurring Thile and his bandmates into complex, tempo-shifting arrangements that heighten the moodiness of the tunes. The weirdly comic “Next to the Trash” and the romantically conflicted “You Are” are indicative of the album’s curious (and haunting) lyric sensibility. The downcast “This Is the Song (Good Luck)” acknowledges current hard times, while “Alex” offers a skewed portrait of a lady friend. As an ensemble, the Punch Brothers display both virtuosity and imagination, with Gabe Witcher earning special mention for his dazzling fiddle flights.

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