Crooked Fingers, 'Forfeit/Fortune' (Red Pig/Constant Artists)

Critical Mass
Label: Red Pig/Constant Artists

by Shannon Zimmerman

Former Archers of Loaf frontman Eric Bachmann has led the folksier Crooked Fingers for nearly a decade, but he still operates in the shadow of his semi-seminal indie-rock outfit, due to an inconsistency that also plagues Forfeit/Fortune. Magisterial opener "What Never Comes" folds an aching, Southern-accented melody into beautifully Bowie-esque chord changes, but it's nine tracks later before Bachmann and Co. deliver anything comparable. That would be the sublime "Modern Dislocation" -- which gives itsindie buzz an epic Springsteen sweep -- and closing track "Your Control," a gorgeous, synth-swept rocker on which Bachmann is joined by Neko Case.



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