Nickel Creek: Why Should the Fire Die?

By Collin Quick

It’s easy for someone to strap on a guitar, take their pent-up emotions and dedicate a whole album to a former flame. It’s easy because it’s been done to death.

However, it’s tough to pull off a rebellious attitude when holding a mandolin or fiddle, but somehow Nickel Creek managed to get a little aggressive on its third release, opting for minor-keyed songs and darker, lonesome lyrics that go beyond the bluegrass vibe.

Opening on the stomp-filled “When in Rome,” the trio adds a heavier touch to their sound with vocal harmonies complementing a running acoustic guitar. The tone continues throughout the album and every now and then a simple musical piece void of lyrics, like “Scotch & Chocolate” and “Stumptown,” showcase the talent of the young musicians.

Fiddlist Sara Watkins adds her touch with youthful crooning vocals on a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Tomorrow is a Long Time” before hindering on the edge of screams on “Best of Luck.”

The heat from the fire continues to rise with “Helena,” a song even My Chemical Romance would be proud of, seeing the two bands share the same name of a raucous-filled track with straight-forward emotion, powerful, crashing drums and melodic bass lines over screams and downer lyrics.

The album closes on the title track with a guitar guiding the trio, who reassure us they’re “not scared of being alone.”

So should this fire die or even be extinguished? Simply put, no. Let these ashes burn brightly and bask in the warmth of the musical creativeness of Nickel Creek.