BOTTOM LINE The Americana survival guide to our current political climate.
Look, The Punch Brothers’ singer-mandolinist Chris Thile is a genius.
And even if the MacArthur Foundation didn’t say so in 2012, the title track of “All Ashore” (Nonesuch), the Punch Brothers’ fifth album, confirms it. The gorgeous seven-minute epic has a child tell the story of his parents’ struggle to make ends meet, but manage to succeed because they have love and contentment. “They use one another like a guiding star,” Thile sings with childlike sweetness, before the victorious ending of, “Love, I don’t need any more than this.”
It’s a lovely way to find beauty in chaos, a safe port in our increasingly tumultuous times.
The Punch Brothers capture the tumult as well. The questioning “The Angel of Doubt” uses guitar, banjo and fiddle to simulate tossing and turning, as worries keep you from sleep.
And then they get to politics. “Jumbo” seemingly offers a thinly veiled indictment of Donald Trump Jr., as it offers him a catchy theme song and new nickname. “Just Look at This Mess” seems to take on President Trump, then advising that he should be ignored. It’s exquisitely done, but also makes you wonder if the Punch Brothers should have followed their own advice.