Chris Thile – Deceiver
Deceiver is quite a departure from the blistering instrumental bluegrass-esque leanings he cut his teeth on as a mandolin wunderkind. Deceiver also takes a bold, new route away from his subsequent solo work that featured his jazz/ classical/ progressive acoustic-style. In fact, Deceiver is the first Thile solo project to feature vocals, and only includes two instrumentals (palette cleansers). This album, exploring a rock direction, is the logical next step in the maturation of an artist who clearly heeds no boundaries and knows no limitations.
1. The Wrong Idea - 2:36 2. On Ice - 3:51 3. Locking Doors - 2:43 4. Waltz For Dewayne Pomeroy - 3:02 5. Empire Falls - 2:55 6. I'm Nowhere And You're Everything - 5:53 7. Jessamyn’s Reel - 1:54 8. The Believer - 2:33 9. This Is All Real - 3:26 10. Ready For Anything - 5:16
Chris Thile (mandolin, vocals)
1. AllMusic - Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.
Nickel Creek -- the group and the individual members -- have become something of a cottage industry, releasing multiple albums in multiple styles. Chris Thile's latest -- Deceiver -- is something of a surprise because his previous solo releases have concentrated on his hotshot mandolin picking. Now, he follows in the musical footsteps of Nickel Creek's last album, This Side, a half-experimental project that qualified as exceptionally innovative bluegrass. The approach, combining personal songwriting with studio techniques (think mid-'60s Beatles with a bluegrass background), jumps the hurdle that keeps most bluegrass bands -- traditional and progressive -- sounding pretty much like the bands that have come before them. Thile's Deceiver is even more experimental than This Side, as though he's been listening to the Bad Livers along with the Beatles. While the impulse is an enticing one, and while the musical results are often intriguing, the project seems more like a collage of fragments than an artistic whole. The album kicks off with what sounds like a baldly confessional ballad about falling in love with an underage girl. "The Wrong Idea" is, musically speaking, one of the best pieces on the album, though the lyric is a bit embarrassing. "On Ice" is another love song that starts strong, but it begins to meander at the two-minute mark. Here and at other places on Deceiver, Thile adds experimental odds and ends that don't really fit with the song. He may return to the same melodic theme at the song's end, but it's a little like calling anything you put between two pieces of bread a sandwich. Deceiver also shifts radically from song to song, jumping from quiet instrumentals like "Waltz for Dewayne Pomeroy" to alternative rock like "Empire Falls." Perhaps the project would've benefited from a tighter production, something to bring Thile's ideas to full fruition. Still, fans of Nickel Creek's last album will appreciate Deceiver's progressive strains, and prefer an imperfect product over yet another predictable bluegrass album.
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