The Punch Brothers are founded on the traditional, tried-and-true format of the bluegrass quintet and on the immaculate polyphonic vocals of “hardcore” style that likewise draw from the traditions of the genre. Yet the music often seems elaborately mismatched. Their compositions frequently abandon the traditional song form and style, they use their instruments in unorthodox ways and bring new and untried combinations of timbre.
Punch Brothers released their fifth album in July. The All Ashore is both ambitious and easygoing, a lot like the “ridiculously eclectic” combo, as London’s Guardian once called the band. It features tracks touching current political themes as well as an instrumental that veers from ruminative to rave up, named in tribute to a classic Tiki cocktail. The new album is full of invigorating energy, spontaneity, extreme changes in dynamics, and impeccable coordination – as well as Punch Brothers live performances.