Sound — 10
This cd is a slight departure from the bands bluegrass roots. They ad hand drums every so often, like in the offbeat "Should've Known Better" this is bluegrass that borders on shred. Mandolinist Chris Thile shamelessly flaunts his talent whenever appropriate. Guitarist and violinist, Sean and Sarah Watkins also break into solo's occasionally, especially in the instrumental first track "Smoothie Song" Guest appearances by Metallica's bassist among others.
Lyrics — 6
The lyrics for the most part are great. Only a few songs like "House Carpenter" stack up lyrically to their first album. As in their first album, some songs are entirely instrumental. At times they do swing towards poppy lyrics and themes though. A majority of the songs are written by the band, but some are lyrically written for them. All three of them sing. Chris has an amazing voice, Sean is about average, and Sarah's voice is beautiful but soft (Sorta reminds me of Arienette). With three singers, harmony just happens in this cd.
Overall Impression — 10
If you are brave enough to buy a cd labelled as bluegrass and can appreciate an acoustic album, buy this cd. It's 3 piece a rhythmic bluegrass band with the all the chops of a shredder (smoothie song). It doesn't sound like any other Album I've heard, aside from their "Nickel Creek." The most impressive thing I found with this album is that they're one of the rare groups that can actually write an instrumental song with verses. This skill carries over into all they're songs. The mandolin riffs seem to speak as though they were words. With rare drums, the percussive strumming style on the mandolin and guitar keep the beat. this album makes me want to learn the mandolin. My favorites are Smoothie Song, This Side, Should've Known Better, Green And Grey and Spit On A Stranger. If I had to pick one thing I hated about the album it would be the 3 or so songs that lack everything I love about this album (musical prowess, lyrics, rhythm). the majority of those were written by other writers. I did lose this album, and I am definitely buying it again.