Nickel Creek – This Side

Sophomore outing for much-vaunted 'Youthgrass' Californian trio

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Since their eponymous 2000 debut, Nickel Creek seem to have undergone a Popstars-esque makeover, all tousled barnets, wide-leg denims and moody photo ops. The vision, however, remains gloriously unaffected. To believe music this steeped in warm country earth yet determinedly shorn of revivalism flows from three sprites barely out of their teens is some feat. Again guided by producer Alison Krauss, This Side expands on their intricate acoustic shanties by occasionally plugging in the amps and stretching bluegrass, indie and folk over a thrillingly realised canvas. And still not a banjo in sight.

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