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A Thrilling Marriage of Head and Heart

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Friday July 20, 2018

From The Irish Times

Punch Brothers: All Ashore review – a thrilling marriage of head and heart
By: Joe Breen

The inside sleeve of this eagerly awaited fifth album from Punch Brothers, the American roots quintet, features the five members posing like G-man extras from an X-Files episode. Serious faces, shirts and ties are set in stark bleached monochrome against a grey sky. This formal look has long been their little visual joke, as if to say don’t judge a band by its blazer. Or, we might look neat and tidy, but our music is a ragamuffin’s feast of sharp turns, unlikely progressions and delicious quirky melody.

[…] This sense of common purpose is key. It is no accident that song credits are shared or that they jointly produced All Ashore. They all have their moments in the sun, and some more than others, but their thrilling playing always serves the song or the tune. This marriage of flair and discipline informs each track: there are no wasted notes or silences. There are two instrumentals, both named after tiki cocktails, the complex “Jungle Bird” and the softer “Three Dots and a Dash.” They represent the band’s twin drivers, the head and the heart; it is Punch Brothers’ ability to strike an endlessly fascinating conversation between the two that makes them among the greatest exponents of acoustic music around today.

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