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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Crooked Fingers
Red Devil Dawn
Merge Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Out in the dark world where Crooked Fingers' mastermind Eric Bachman lives, the only ray of light appears to him in the form of music. How else can one explain what comes out of the speakers when you put on a Crooked Fingers album? There is a beauty and a tossed off quirkiness that makes the music very listenable and interesting. But the lyrics tend to stagnate in a land of darkness, only occasionally seeing a tiny glimmer of hope. Even then, it is usually by admission that the opportunity for joy exists without offering a full realization. On his latest album, Bachman's lyrics suggest hope by observing "there's beauty in an ugly thing" and "redemption in demise." The music seems to be the main chance at redemption. We are not talking about outright pop, but you can see that there is hope in even the darkest moment by the way the music crescendos and grows. And the contrast between music and lyric has never been clearer or better than it is on Red Devil Dawn.

Horns punctuate this contrast on the album and help illuminate the stark landscapes that Bachman portrays. The upbeat music on "You Threw a Spark" is carried by the trumpets' melody in the chorus. In the end, the inclusion of beautifully arranged strings ultimately makes these songs and brings them to their defiant crescendos. In songs like "Angelina" and "Carrion Doves," you can actually here the strings offer a sense of sympathy and hope before the lyrics mirror this, and in the song "You Can Never Leave," the strings offer hope that the words are unwilling to give.

Bachman continues in Crooked Fingers' lyrical department. The first Crooked Fingers album's wonderful music was off-played by some downright abysmal lyrics, but on Red Devil Dawn Bachman sets the right tone with his vocals and tells stories that are much more specific and personal. "With thirty of hopes and fears breathing down my neck, such a sad, sad thing I set you free 'cause I can't get you back."

Although really not yet taking a right turn in musical vision, Bachman has certainly grown into his sound in an impressive and highly unexpected way. The songs and arrangements sound better than ever. Certain to be missed by those who have never given Crooked Fingers a chance or were turned off by his earlier efforts, this is an album to cement Bachman's place along the other dark luminaries he has often been compared to.

Reviewed by John Steinbacher
The last we heard, Steinbacher was living in Minneapolis.

See other reviews by John Steinbacher

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