Crooked Fingers: lush despairing brilliance or pathetic?

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I loved the Archers of Loaf, i really did. Then I buy Eric Bachmann's newest solo project on glowing recommendation from Pitchfork, am initially turned on by the suprisingly lush instrumentation, but now cannot stand to listen as all i hear are Bachmann's repetitive and painfully predictible lyric writing. what does everyone else think?

andrew, Friday, 13 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I had the exact same response--I loved the first Crooked Fingers record when I bought it. It sounded kind of like a Southern-fried Tindersticks kinda thing, until I noticed that all the songs sound the same (hey, kind of like Tindersticks) and, yeah, Bachmann's lyrics are really bad. It's no worse than the last Archers record, though.

adam, Saturday, 14 July 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

one year passes...
Damn that post is from a long time ago. Anyway I am going to see Crooked Fingers tonight and I wondered if the newly-indie nu-ILM had any more thoughts on the Bachmann matter.

adam (adam), Monday, 14 April 2003 23:35 (sixteen years ago) link

The self-titled album has a couple of really nice moments. I particularly like "The Rotting Strip" and the 7" with "Juliette" on it. Not as good as early Archers but that was pretty top stuff.

electric sound of jim (electricsound), Monday, 14 April 2003 23:36 (sixteen years ago) link

Word. I am drunkly rocking out to "Web In Front" at this moment. I really like (off the first CF record) track 2--"New Drink for the Old Drunk" or whatever. It's MacGowanish.

adam (adam), Monday, 14 April 2003 23:40 (sixteen years ago) link

Er..."The Rotting Strip" is on the 2nd album, Bring on the Snakes.

The newest one, Red Devil Dawn, is somewhat disappointing with the exception of two or three great choons. The real difference now, though, is with the live show. Crooked Fingers is no longer just Eric and a coupla guys, but it's a band. A loud, rowdy band at that.

paul cox (paul cox), Tuesday, 15 April 2003 00:17 (sixteen years ago) link

At it's best, lush despairing brilliance and brilliant lushery, at it's worst, despairing patheticness and pathetic lushery. He overimploys the woman-devil-drink imagery (especially annoying since any AoL fan knows he can talk about more than Lady Liquor Of Hell) but his melodic and arranging skills remain intact. All three albums have some really strong numbers, and I'm probably leaning towards the first as his best.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Tuesday, 15 April 2003 00:25 (sixteen years ago) link

I've only heard the first s/t album. While I think it's quite good, I've never felt the desire to hear more.

Catherine (Catherine), Tuesday, 15 April 2003 00:26 (sixteen years ago) link

It should also be noted that he sounds EXACTLY like Neil Diamond on these albums. I like to imagine Mr. Diamond performing these numbers in a basement wearing a wool-knit cap and a hoodie.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Tuesday, 15 April 2003 00:29 (sixteen years ago) link

The Diamond comparisons are even more valid now as he seems to have totally abandoned the falsetto he used to toy around with.

paul cox (paul cox), Tuesday, 15 April 2003 00:31 (sixteen years ago) link

Er..."The Rotting Strip" is on the 2nd album, Bring on the Snakes.

oh, OK. i've got an Australian pressing that doesn't have a title on it so I assumed it was the self-titled one.

electric sound of jim (electricsound), Tuesday, 15 April 2003 00:32 (sixteen years ago) link

It's interesting that the last Aol song, "White Trash Heroes," is their most Crooked Fingers-like number.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Tuesday, 15 April 2003 00:33 (sixteen years ago) link

Since the first Crooked Fingers album I heard was the self-titled one, I think it's the best, although subsequent albums have one or two worthwhile tracks. The problem is, all three albums sound a lot alike; I don't hear any improvement in or evolution of the initial formula. It's disappointing considering how different each Archers album sounds from the others.

Nick Mirov (nick), Tuesday, 15 April 2003 01:19 (sixteen years ago) link

Currently rocking to "Harnessed in Slums." Nuts to ILM and popism.

adam (adam), Tuesday, 15 April 2003 01:40 (sixteen years ago) link

I've always hated Crooked Fingers. Eric'll always have a place in my heart for Archers, still one of my fave bands (do EPs get better than Greatest of All Time?), but it really seems like he's mailing it in with CF. There's nothing at stake there, ya know?

A friend is old friends with the Archers crew, and he was there when they wrote "Web In Front." He went to high school with them and was in their basement during one of their practices. The drummer (whose name escapes me at the moment) played that little snare opening and they took off from there. He claims it was one of the most startling experiences of his life -- realizing that his best friends were, effectively, geniuses.

Yanc3y (ystrickler), Tuesday, 15 April 2003 01:55 (sixteen years ago) link

Writing "Web in Front" hardly equates to genius, does it? The "Audiowhore"/"Lowest Part is Free" medley comes much closer.

paul cox (paul cox), Tuesday, 15 April 2003 02:08 (sixteen years ago) link

But until then they had been a shitty punk band with no tunes. And all of the sudden that changed before his eyes. An epiphany, right?

Yanc3y (ystrickler), Tuesday, 15 April 2003 02:37 (sixteen years ago) link

The couple of songs Bachmann cut with Small were fairly decent, so I imagine the songs were always there and just bubbled to the surface that night.

paul cox (paul cox), Tuesday, 15 April 2003 02:43 (sixteen years ago) link

I saw AoL live (when? where?) and totally forget what they were like. I guess I was impressed enough to purchase their album at the time (veevee); aside from "Harnessed in the Slums" none of the other songs made any impression on me.

Sean (Sean), Tuesday, 15 April 2003 02:45 (sixteen years ago) link

He said that at that time Small were a really shitty Ma I Forgot...-era Replacements. I've never heard Small, so I have no idea how accurate that is/was.

Yanc3y (ystrickler), Tuesday, 15 April 2003 03:14 (sixteen years ago) link

I've got a 7" from the period he was in the band, but I haven't listened to it in a million years. Don't recall any hint of a 'Mats influence, though. More like Superchunk Jr.

paul cox (paul cox), Tuesday, 15 April 2003 03:18 (sixteen years ago) link

K. I'll take your word for it. (i find it kinda funny that you're questioning a friend of mine's reaction to something he saw firsthand, by the way)

Yanc3y (ystrickler), Tuesday, 15 April 2003 03:24 (sixteen years ago) link

what single was that? the "Chopsocky" one?

electric sound of jim (electricsound), Tuesday, 15 April 2003 03:27 (sixteen years ago) link

Not questioning, really. Just odd that "Web in Front" and "geniuses" were used in the same story.

All the best songs are written in about the time it takes to play them.

paul cox (paul cox), Tuesday, 15 April 2003 03:28 (sixteen years ago) link

No, he'd already left by the time the "Chopsocky" 7" came out. He's on the "Noodles"/"Wet Cement" 7" from 1992 (but only on "Wet Cement").

paul cox (paul cox), Tuesday, 15 April 2003 03:30 (sixteen years ago) link

Bachmann seems to have a springsteen-doing-a-dylan-impression vocal thing going on. it's pretty annoying

MerkinMuffley (MerkinMuffley), Tuesday, 15 April 2003 12:33 (sixteen years ago) link

seven years pass...

'juliette' still p much slays imo

cloudy predecessor (Lamp), Friday, 4 February 2011 04:49 (eight years ago) link

eight years pass...

You Can Never Leave is so magnificent.

Johnny Fever, Wednesday, 11 September 2019 03:46 (one week ago) link


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