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Crooked Fingers

Bring on the Snakes (Warm)


Seeing Neil Diamond's cameo in Saving Silverman was somewhat off-putting, but hearing his golden pipes intone a dark tale during which one participant halfheartedly suggests We could both quit smoking/and kick the booze and blow is downright disturbing. But wait, the man behind those lyrics is actually former Archer of Loaf Eric Bachmann, whose deceptively silky singing could allow him to pass for Diamond's identical vocal twin. However, instead of crooning heart-luminating love tunes or inspiring patriotic anthems, Bachmann's Crooked Fingers sets detailed narratives of the downtrodden to sparse guitar and droning bedroom electronica. Although they often deal with dark subject matter, Bachmann's tunes retain Diamond's theatrical delivery, with his expressive voice pushed to the front of the mix. The deceptively upbeat music prevents these stories, in which even "love" is prefaced by "sad," from becoming tediously melodramatic. Bachmann's delivery, more so than the actual lyrics, offers implied hope for the pathetic protagonists of these tales. For outsiders peering in, Bring on the Snakes might prove cathartic, but Silverman be damned: If these yarns are even remotely close to autobiographical, it's Bachmann who needs saving.

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