8 1/2 years since their last album Nickel Creek surprised their long suffering fans on the 3rd of February 2014 via the wonders of social networking that they were “Getting the band back together”. Unlike many band reformations of recent times, this one wasn’t with the vague promises of possible new material after a year of touring old material…..a new album was also announced. The album name would be revealed on the 18th of Feb as ‘A Dotted Line’ and set for release on 1/4/14 (not an elaborate April Fools joke we were assured by the band) UK release is 31/3 a day before. Thanks to the good people at Nonesuch no later than 2 days after the announcement I had a nice shiny promo delivered.
Now I’m a BIG Nickel Creek fan, and despite missing the band, I have quite contentedly filled the near on 9 year hiatus with plenty of individual offerings from Chris, Sara and Sean. Some of these albums are great, some I don’t care that much for, but we’ve not exactly been deprived of music from this talented trio have we????
So why has everyone simply not been content for Thile, Watkins and Watkins to walk away clean and clear, satisfying ourselves with Punch Brothers, WPA, Fiction Family, Sara solo etc etc ? The simple reason is that they just work better together rather than individually. That is of course my personal opinion, some may think that they’re better having called time, but I think they’d be in the minority.
So what to do with an album you’ve been yearning for? Well after a little fit of glee which involved a rather childish jumping up and down for a few minutes in my kitchen I did what any sane person would do….stuck the CD in and crossed my fingers that this was going to be worth the wait.
Now I’m crap with deciphering lyrics, but to the best of my abilities there appears to be references aplenty in opening song ‘Rest Of My Life’ to the band splitting and subsequently reuniting.
‘But it’s one of those endings, that no one claps cos they’re sure that there’s more’
Reflecting on how poorly the hiatus was received, fans knew that they would be back but as the years went by our resolve was starting to be tested. The song itself is a glorious comeback, full of all that we love about NC, great harmonies and the masters at work with their respective instruments.
I’m going to refrain from describing every song, as i think it should be left as a nice surprise to the listener. The 2 songs released as teasers are a good reflection on the pace and mood of the album. Mother Mother cover ‘Hayloft’ is sure to raise a few eyebrows on initial listens, but it’s an utter gem.
Overall, there’s not as much of Sean singing lead as I’d like, most vocals duties are deferred to Chris and Sara. I’d also have expected a more progressive album, it feels for the first time in their series of album releases that they are playing it a bit safe. But it’s great to have them back….for how long they’ll stay back remains to be seen.
Is ‘A Dotted Line’ a glorious swansong or the shape of things to come with a long lasting reunion that will drop Nickel Creek back into the run of releases along with their respective side projects? I certainly wouldn’t want to forsake more Punch Brothers releases at the expense of just having Nickel Creek around. It’s kind of like having to pick a favourite child, you just can’t.
Favourite Track(s): You Don’t Know What’s Going On, Rest Of My Life, Christmas Eve
In summary, it was probably never going to live up to my over inflated expectations after 9 years, but it’s blooming lovely and holds a worthy place in the NC discography. A nice way to celebrate 25 years of the band being in existence. Pre Order it HERE.
UK Tour dates are yet to be announced, but you’d have to think it can’t be long before they are.
1. Rest Of My Life
3. Elsie (inst)
4. Christmas Eve
5. Hayloft (Mother Mother cover)
6. 21st of May
7. Love Of Mine
8. Elephant in the Corn (inst)
9. You Don’t Know What’s Going On
10. Where is Love Now (Sam Phillips cover)