Editors' pick

Crooked Fingers

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Editorial Review

Album review: "Breaks in the Armor"

On Crooked Fingers' new album, "Breaks in the Armor," frontman Eric Bachmann's love of percussive elements is evident throughout. The drums on such songs as "Bad Blood," "Black Candles" and "War Horse" start early and pound often, creating a driving beat.

The album's other strength is Bachmann's earnestness as a songwriter. The arrangements are minimal, the songs dark and spare: There's little more than piano, restrained guitar and drums.

There's a demolike quality to many of the tracks, but don't mistake this for low production. To the contrary, there's beauty and melody in such restraint, and its emotional intensity is magnified when paired with Bachmann's endearingly worn vocals. In his slight Southern drawl, he pleads with you to believe him.

Bachmann's message is one of a weary journeyman, a look at the landscape he has left behind, both physically and emotionally, in his nomadic travels.

On album opener "Typhoon," he sings, "I can't love you now like I loved you then," his words casting an introspective gaze.

--Benjamin Opipari, Oct. 28, 2011