Crooked Fingers, ‘Breaks in the Armor’ (Merge)
There have been moments in Crooked Fingers’ consistent, decade-plus oeuvre when Eric Bachmann’s songwriting elevates to a startling new level of sophistication. On Breaks in the Armor, that aha feeling arrives during “The Counterfeiter,” a subtly rousing track constructed on plucky rhythms, sneaky vocal arrangements, and rueful lyrics (“All of the doctors know you’re faking”). Armor is Bachmann’s most vigorous post-Archers of Loaf full-length since 2003’s Red Devil Dawn. Only the drab, ramshackle “Back Candles” briefly weighs down an ?otherwise gorgeous, toothy record from indie rock’s most refreshingly unpretentious auteur.