Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Nickel Creek

  • Why Should the Fire Die? [Sugar Hill, 2005] C+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Why Should the Fire Die? [Sugar Hill, 2005]
Of course they're still "really" "newgrass," but mainly they're a prog-pop band accessorizing their chords with mountain sonics. One effuser goes so far as to claim "a younger, better-scrubbed Dave Matthews Band minus the blowhardiness, a rootsier Ryan Cabrera," while a tradder fellow adduces Bill Evans and Debussy. For some of us, unfortunately, all those loose-lipped compliments are negatives--Kind of Blue aside, we don't even like Bill Evans. Nor would I advise any three prodigies to reduce a James Joyce story to 54 words and rather more notes. The young-prodigy-tries-to-love title tune is a winning exception, and "Doubting Thomas" intimates spiritual struggles that arouse one's curiosity. But like most schmoograssers they're committed to virtuosity for its own sake, and like most young musos they've been too focused on technique to learn much about how music interacts with life. C+