Their best release in nine years!...Seriously.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
For those of you playing at home, A Dotted Line is the first Nickel Creek release in nine years and perhaps their most creative outing in their somewhat short but critically acclaimed career. To take more than two years off for any ensemble in any genre is the musical equivalent of tap dancing in a lyrical mine field. It is often a fair guess to assume the creative well has run dry and word then spreads like wild fire, not here. Sarah and Sean Watkins kept performing and Chris Thile made some noise with the Punch Brothers but the lure of working together again was too strong to resist. Nickle Creek made progressive acoustic music cool, A Dotted Line makes it commercially viable.
Don't get me wrong, there is nothing overtly commercial about this release. A Dotted Line does happen to be loaded with a myriad of cross over possibilities. The syncopated pop of "Hayloft" complete with country oriented lyrics but a contemporary pop feel could have some radio programmers out on a ledge in a panic wondering what to do. Play it! The instrumental "Elsie" is a perfect vehicle for the right project happening on the small or large screen. "Destination" is another pop influenced tune that could see life on multiple programmable formats while never giving ground to the artistic integrity that Nickle Creek embraces with such ease.
A Dotted Line is far more than just a good record. Nickle Creek has pulled off the impossible and have returned with arguably their finest release yet and hopefully a taste of what is to come in the future. Fresh, eclectic and organic might all fit but the words have lost some meaning when applied in this context. Good music stands alone. Labels are for cans of soup!
Tracks: Rest Of My Life; Destination; Elsie; Christmas Eve; Hayloft; 21st of May; Love Of Mine; Elephant In The Corn; You Don't Know What's Going On; Where Is Love Now.