Saturday, April 19, at the Replay Lounge.

Crooked Fingers 

Saturday, April 19, at the Replay Lounge.

The dark constellation of singer-songwriters formed by Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave and Tom Waits is no place to go poking around if you can't stand a little self-indulgence. So pomp-averse listeners beware: Crooked Fingers might well get on your nerves. The latest earnest enterprise from former Archers of Loaf singer Eric Bachmann, Red Devil Dawn has its share of apocalyptic imagery, compounded by the melodrama of Bachmann's croaking croon -- more Neil Diamond than Waits -- and pointlessly grandiloquent lines such as The gods will say the love we made was a lie. Oh, those pesky gods. Thankfully, like the best of his predecessors, Bachmann keeps a foot down to earth as well. His arrangements are forthright, a folksy foundation salted with percussive synth and sweetened by chivalrous strings. It's a sympathetic setting for his melodies, which are classic-sounding and nearly familiar -- the breakup tune "Disappear," for example, arches as sweetly as a '60s girl-group tune, complete with my baby refrains. Of course, the Ronettes would sound mighty strange observing that red tears flowed down the mountainside/Black dust filled up the starry sky, and such extravagance would sound just as out of place here without Bachmann's overweight intonations to anchor it.

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