Chris Thile - Deceiver

Music Reviews Chris Thile
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Chris Thile - Deceiver

As a member of the progressive bluegrass outfit Nickel Creek, Chris Thile helped win the band remarkable crossover success. Mutual Admiration Society — a recent side project with Toad The Wet Sprocket’s Glen Philips — found Thile dabbling further in rock ’n’ roll. For his latest solo effort, he steps up to the mic, offering songs cast in an ambitious array of styles, while lyrically exploring insecurity, faith and heartache. Aside from two instrumentals (the melancholic “Waltz For Dewayne Pomeroy” and the freewheeling “Jessamyn’s Reel”), Thile sings throughout, venturing into guitar-driven rock on “Empire Falls” and moody chamber pop on “This Is All Real.” The quirky meter and blank verse of “The Wrong Idea” underscores the song’s conflicting emotional loyalties, further emphasized by a shift from string-laden dolor to impassioned power chords. “On Ice” is a particular standout, with a snaking mandolin figure that steadily tumbles toward the singer’s doubtful assertion of “I feel fine!” While he occasionally strays into self-conscious posing (the awkward, jazzy stutter-time of “Locking Doors”), the album remains surprisingly cohesive, considering its stylistic ambition.