Sound — 9
It would surprise pretty much everyone that I know that I like bluegrass. Primarily, I'm very much into rock, but I've got into listening to these guys and Alison Krauss and love it all. It's really relaxing music. Nickel Creek are a fantastic band. This is their first CD, and in my opinion, their best. It seems to be very 'traditional' bluegrass, as opposed to "This Side" and "Why Should the Fire Die?" which are pretty modernised, some people call that particular style of music 'Newgrass'. Chris Thile is probably one of the best (if not THE best) mandolin player in the world. His little fills fit into songs perfectly; his solos are great; and his strumming (for example, in "The Fox") is brilliant. Sean Watkins' guitar skills are fantastic: one of the best riffs is "The Hand Song" (which I've tabbed out with PowerTab and uploaded to UG). Sean's sister, Sarah, plays the violin, fitting in slow and sombre strokes or faster ones for the more upbeat songs. All together, the band sounds fantastic.
Lyrics — 9
Generally speaking, the lyrics are very good. Unquestionably, the lyrics to "The Lighthouse's Tale" are some of the very best in music. The song is a story told from the point of view of a lighthouse (which may sound very silly, but once you've heard it, you'll understand) who had a keeper who was to marry "a girl who shone with beauty and light", but she suffers a tragic accident, I won't spoil the rest of the song for you (my parents love Nickel Creek, and every time my mom listens to "The Lighthouse's Tale" she actually cries). The vocals on this album are shared between Chris and Sarah. Chris has one of the best voices in music. His voice is so memorable and completes the songs perfectly. Sarah Watkins also has a very good voice, though cannot compare to Alison Krauss, sadly.
Overall Impression — 10
This is a fantastic album. In my opinion, it is Nickel Creek at their best. "Why Should the Fire Die?" is equally good, but in a different, more modern way. If you like Alison Krauss and Union Station, then you will love Nickel Creek. Alison is actually Nickel Creek's producer! It's a sort of 'traditional-bluegrass' album, that has been modernised slightly. I love every song on the album, and if I lost it, I would definately buy it again.