Crooked Fingers Red Devil Dawn

[Merge; 2003]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: indie rock, pop music, singer-songwriterliness
Others: (Smog), Jim White, Bloc Party

There are two types of sad music in today’s indie domain. There is the kind that makes you even more melancholy and depressed, and the kind that is uplifting and optimistic. Eric Bachman, ex-Archers of Loaf and lead singer/contributor of Crooked Fingers, is possibly the most gifted performer of the latter sad music style. Red Devil Dawn, Crooked Fingers’ third full-length album (the first on Merge), exemplifies the strong elements of beauty and magnificence at the core of sad music. And this optimism is painted richly by the illusions of the loner's vivid emotional outpour. As each track progresses, your level of sadness washes away down the stream of depression, thanklessness, and brokenness. But while you imagine the heartbreak of our faithful loner, you begin to imagine yourself as a capable and worthy human being. And that is where the music journey enters: to your heart and soul.

Red Devil Dawn is extremely complex and multifaceted. Beyond the darker and somber subject matter, the musical accompaniment is extremely joyful and spiritual. The addition of richer and prominent instrumentation, such as trumpet, chamber strings, and pedal steel guitar, adds to the mood and complexity of each track on the record. Standouts like “You Throw A Spark” and “Sweet Maria” embody a strong sense of musical accomplishment and truly exemplify Bachmann’s brooding, rough, and lovable vocal delivery. The texture and consistency is inconclusive, but the emotions felt and embraced are aspiring and heartening. And the continuous blend of sad lyrics and happy music exemplifies growth that many other artists cannot achieve. Crooked Fingers is a fantastic band that only gets better with each passing release. And the same can be said about Red Devil Dawn, their strongest and most consistent record to date.

1. Big Darkness
2. Don't Say a Word
3. You Can Never Leave
4. Bad Man Coming
5. You Threw a Spark
6. Boy With (100) Hands
7. Sweet Marie
8. Angelina
9. Disappear
10. Carrion Doves