Release Date: Oct 11, 2011
Record label: Merge
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Alternative Country-Rock
With Breaks in the Armor, once-and-present Archers of Loaf frontman Eric Bachmann parks his growl and rewinds the engine on his Crooked Fingers project. As with his other group, Bachmann is at his best when he’s got something to sing for: acoustic anthems “War Horses” and “She Tows the Line” stand up straight on their martial rhythms while “The Counterfeiter” weaves and builds on its leading bass line. While Breaks takes a few tracks to pick up traction, Bachmann’s true grit comes through.
For a musician who appears to be in a constant state of flux, a record as consistent and memorable as Breaks In the Armor is nothing if not an unqualified triumph. After writing a batch of songs during self-imposed musical exile in Taiwan, Eric Bachmann kept what became Crooked Fingers’ sixth full-length in his back pocket, meanwhile reuniting Archers of Loaf for a smattering of shows (and an upcoming tour). If it were restlessness or a desire for a more assertive sound that drove Bachmann to reconvene the iconic slacker-rock band, the same boldness informs Breaks In the Armor, albeit tempered by a mature lyrical sensibility and a heavy dose of doomsaying, sure to satisfy romantic idealism and hipster schadenfreude alike.
The sixth studio album from Archer of Loaf's grizzled Eric Bachmann dials down the ornate arrangements that adorned previous outings in favor of a more primal and pared-down production style that suits the Athens, Georgia-based singer/songwriter’s most spirited collection of tunes to date. Recorded and mixed by Matt Yelton, the live sound engineer for the Pixies, Breaks in the Armor manages to feel both lived-in and untamed. Written primarily overseas in Taipei, where Bachmann spent most of 2009 teaching English as a second language, the album is both understated and grand.
With Eric Bachmann's old band Archers of Loaf reuniting this year (to the delight of indie rock fans old and young), it might be easy to forget Crooked Fingers amidst this wave of nostalgia for the heyday of '90s college rock. But that would be ignoring just how much work Bachmann has put into Crooked Fingers over the past decade-plus, and how good he can be with this outfit. What started as essentially a solo venture has grown lusher and more expansive with each release -- from the murky hiss of Crooked Fingers to the shadowy folk of Red Devil Dawn to the full-band pop leanings of the last effort Forfeit/Fortune.
Eric Bachmann has been many things throughout his varied career. The former Archers of Loaf frontman was a pioneer of ’90s slacker alt-rock. All he ever wanted was to be your spine. In 1998, he turned Nebraska-era Springsteen-inspired folk singer. Now, six albums deep into his folk excursion ….
It must be a good time to be Eric Bachmann. His old band Archers of Loaf, aside from getting the reissue treatment, reunited and performed a number of shows this year. This fall he put out his latest album as Crooked Fingers, another noteworthy release in his decade as a solo artist. On Breaks in the Armor, Bachmann performs nearly every part, with the exception of some vocals from Liz Durrett.
With Archers of Loaf's recent regrouping, the time has never been better for bestirred Archers fans to look to the periphery and spend some time with singer/guitarist Eric Bachmann's Crooked Fingers..
Maybe it's his former band's recent return that's got Eric Bachmann ruminating so hard, but the past, and what to do with it, seems of of particular concern to ex-Archers of Loaf frontman Eric Bachmann on Breaks in the Armor, his sixth LP at the helm of Crooked Fingers. From the start, Bachmann's longstanding, personnel-shifting, Americana-imbued second act's traded in a kind of weary reflection, but Breaks in the Armor's brooding gaze mostly seems to be directed backward; at times, Bachmann almost seems to be addressing his younger self. The album finds him channeling hard-fought lessons into 11 remorse-tinged tunes with the weight of the world on their shoulders, the years caught in his battle-scarred throat.
Crooked Fingers “In my dreams, every time, your apocalypse is mine,” Eric Bachmann sings on his new album as Crooked Fingers, “Breaks in the Armor” (Merge). Disasters and sorrows — a typhoon, a landslide, illness, love going cold — fill his latest songs, which are true to form. Mr ….