Crooked Fingers CD review [Merge]

Music Reviews
Crooked Fingers CD review [Merge]
Jan 21, 2003, 22:34


Crooked Fingers is Eric Bachmann, who left a life of guitar-driven rock as front man for Archers of Loaf in North Carolina in favor of one of folky bardism in Seattle. The move was a net gain for North Carolina. People have been really digging Bachmann's work (this is Crooked Fingers' fourth offering), as evidenced by the “critically acclaimed” industry seal of approval and nods to his genius on adult-oriented radio. The label-provided primer sheet refers to Bachmann's compositions as “…dark, baroque melodies that conjure images of smoky barrooms as opposed to gilded stages.” The baroque part is accurate, as there's a healthy sprinkling of overwrought string arrangements on Red Devil Dawn, and the lyrics are heavy on glibness, broken relationships, and all manner of unpleasantries. However, the only image conjured in my mind is of a Volvo-driving, knit-sweater-wearing, professional guy settling down for a snuggle and a warm mug of hot chocolate with significant other in front of a crackling fire at weekend retreat. Beddy-bye music for the smart set. When Bachmann isn't boring us with somnambulation, he's annoying us with some sort of peppy, horn-driven salsa concoction (see “You Threw a Spark”). I'm supposed to be filing this disc with such evocative bards as Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen. Well, the gravelly voice and tin-pan alley pronunciations are there, but sterility just doesn't substitute for soul. The disc will probably be filed under the wobbly leg on this desk. [Merge]

-Bo Pogue

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