Album Review: Punch Brothers - All Ashore

17 July 2018 | 1:43 pm | Lukas Murphy

"Immediately demonstrates the Brothers' grasp of subtlety and compositional minutiae."

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The announcement that Punch Brothers' fifth studio album All Ashore was about to be released came with only a couple of months' notice.

Since then, it has been a slow crawl of glorious teasers, single releases and one-off merchandise. Live performances and studio recordings It's All Part Of The Plan and the monumental instrumental epic Three Dots And A Dash were released ahead of the album, and although they were certainly highlights of the album as a whole, they were a small taste of what was to come.

The album itself immediately demonstrates the Brothers' grasp of subtlety and compositional minutiae - banjo leading in the title track with a gentle, sweet ostinato that manages to be determined and purposeful despite its volume. The album explores vast compositional territory - from the unsurprising influences of Radiohead in the refrain of The Angel Of Doubt, to the R&B grooves of Just Look At This Mess. Unlike their previous studio release The Phosphorescent Blues, this album remains faithful to the traditional bluegrass line-up of the group: No additional instruments or choirs. This does the instrumentation justice however, allowing the texture of each instrument to come to the foreground in hair-raising revelry.