I often buy music on a whim, for some reason that has nothing at all to do with the way it sounds; because something about the cover art, or the font used, or the title of a song just grabs me. I know it seems ridiculous to spend money on so tenuous and unrelated a cue, but I have always been really lucky in this regard. I honestly can't remember the last time I bought a lemon because I indulged my first gut reaction.
This is how I came to buy Punch, the debut album by The Punch Brothers. You want to know what made me know I would like it? I'll tell you, Gentle Readers, but I assure you that it won't make sense out loud. Or in type. I don't think I fully understand it myself, even; I just know what the trigger was. Ready?
It was because of the combination of the uses of the word 'punch'. Not only is it part of the band's name and the name of the album, but it also appears in the title of the first track, Punch Bowl. And something about that just... grabbed me. Punch Brothers and Punch evoked a certain rough, maybe even violent, camaraderie to me, and Punch Bowl made me think of, well, a punch bowl. And along with that comes the idea of a party, and getting drunk. But combined with the roughness of the other meanings of the word, which is the way it seemed like it should be taken in the band's name and the album's title, it seemed juxtaposed and discordant and maybe even a little lonely. And in the split second that all that rattled around in my head, I knew I would like it.
(I hope that's less clumsy to you reading than it seems to me writing.)
In any case, I was right. I love this album, and I can't wait to see what comes next from them. It's immediate, visceral, full of undercurrents of loneliness and anger, but there is also a sort of raw defiance underneath that. It seems simple on the surface a lot of the time, but it's really complicated when you start to pay attention, and while it is traditional Bluegrass in a lot of ways, there is nothing stale or recycled about it.
I am going to stop talking now, and let the music speak for itself...
I Know You Know
Heart In A Cage
Fantastic stuff, yes?
1 month ago