Bring On the Snakes
Figures. Just as soon as I start warming up to what The Archers Of Loaf were doing, as White Trash Heroes showed a fair mastery of Jesus Lizard-esque guitar skronk and ball growth, they break up. And for my troubles, I’m left with vocalist Eric’s essentially solo endeavor, Crooked Fingers. Hmmm, yet another foiled (not failed) indie musician moves on to more country-esque, Nick Drake-y territories. Someone should be alerted as to this exodus. Don’t worry yer pretty little head too much, Mr. Crooked Fingers pulls the whole stylistic shift off pretty damn smoothly, due in great part to THAT VOICE. Yup, a whisky-soaked, cigarette-cracked, blues-addled croak/croon that conjures up the best of Mark Lanegan and even some Leonard Cohen, and calling up visuals of a long-haired wanderer with soft hands and a Neil Young shirt, slumped on the floor. Hmmm, maybe it’s for the best that they didn’t include any sleeve photos. Faintly ridiculous musings aside, musically and vocal performance-wise, Bring On the Snakes has a whole lot going for it. There are a few songs with bubbling, sampled beats, and that’s a clever contrast given the whole weary theme of the record. I do wish he wouldn’t do so much fast picking, it gets distracting, doesn’t leave me enough space. It all comes together on songs like “There’s a Blue Light” and “Sad Love,” sad funeral mountain music, the type that makes me wish that I was living in Louisville, driving on a lonely road on the way back from an OVW show. It’s a dandy debut, and Crooked Fingers will definitely be a contender with a few more albums under their rawhide belt. My beef, if that’s the correct term, is that there seems to be a certain distance in the songwriting, maybe it’s ‘cuz Eric is getting used to a new set of aesthetic boundaries, maybe he doesn’t wanna give it all away the first time around. There’s blood, mind you, it’s just not splashed all over the floor.
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