Punch Brothers

Who's Feeling Young Now? (Nonesuch)

SXSW 2012 Records

Punch Brothers

Who's Feeling Young Now? (Nonesuch)

Chris Thile, 31, deserves every musical accolade that has and will come his way. An exceptional mandolinist and brilliant composer, his Punch Brothers supergroup marveled with 2008 debut Punch and garnered Grammy nominations for 2010's Antifogmatic. As the experimental turns of its progressive strings have become hallmark, however, Thile's deficiency as songwriter has begun to bleed through, and the quintet's third album quickly wears thin. The arrangements still push limits, but the frontman's drifting upper reaches of tenor on "Movement and Location" and "Clara" only distract. Lyrically, there's little that works and more that detracts (see especially "This Girl," the title track, and "Hundred Dollars"). Thus the band is best when Thile is less, at least vocally. The only standouts here are the eerily fun hot-jazz "Patchwork Girlfriend" and an impressively stringed version of Radiohead's "Kid A," which only reiterates the heights this group can achieve. (Thu., 11pm, Antone's, 9pm, IFC Crossroads House at Vice; Fri., 1:15pm, Radio Day Stage, Austin Convention Center)

**

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