Nickel Creek A Dotted Line

Nickel Creek A Dotted Line
7
Seven years into an "indefinite hiatus" that pretty much everyone figured was more of a definite thing given all of their solo activities, Nickel Creek have suddenly picked up where they left off. And what a welcome reunion this is.

In a chart-friendly "progressive folk" scene overwhelmed by the likes of Mumford & Sons and the Lumineers, hearing the trio that first broke into this territory more than twenty years ago returning to form is a treat. Less interested in four-on-the-floor anthems than these current stars, Nickel Creek were always a band focused on the songs themselves, not necessarily the rise they could get out of the audience while they played. They wielded a subtler sound, then, but Nickel Creek was always a band with its sights set on pulling bluegrass into the future. They covered Pavement, for instance (and completely owned the song, too!), back in 2002.

On A Dotted Line (perhaps a reference to the ellipses conjured by the "indefinite hiatus"?) Nickel Creek mostly plays it safe. The songwriting is exemplary, the picking invigorating and the harmonies outstanding, but there's only one genuinely oddball effort here: a cover of Canadian pop band Mother Mother's "Hayloft," about which the less said, the better.

But, safe is fine for Nickel Creek, and will surely please their legions of fans who've waited for seven years to hear this record. Here's hoping there's more where it came from down the (dotted) line. (Nonesuch)