Crooked Fingers
w/ Pinback

Sun May 26, Crocodile.
Two shows: all ages, $10/$12 adv; 21+ (w/ Maqiladora), $12.

I've heard many singer/songwriters whose creative process is fueled by drugs or alcohol sing Kris Kristofferson's "Sunday Morning Coming Down." Although the original is a powerful composition, I've yet to hear anyone's cover do it a disservice. Maybe it's because the song touches upon all that inherent misery in such a visceral way that any artist who would attempt to sing it is a soul deeply in touch with his own misery. One moment the narrator's happily drunk, proud even as he hits the sidewalk, then a cursing kid and the smell of fried chicken hits him in the face and the buzz is instantly gone, as the lyrics admit, "It took me back to something I lost somehow somewhere along the way."

I find it almost impossible to hear anyone but a washed-out, alcoholic Neil Diamond whenever former Archers Of Loaf leader Bachmann is singing as Crooked Fingers. (I'm talking strictly about the album experience here. Live, Bachmann is fully capable of croakily embodying his own shadowy, romantically tragic character, part momentarily repentant drunk, and part eternally luckless lover.) So it's fitting that along with Kristofferson's "Sunday Morning Coming Down," Bachmann covers Diamond's "Solitary Man" on his new EP, Reservoir Songs. Prince's "When U Were Mine," Bruce Springsteen's "The River," and the David Bowie/Queen collaboration "Under Pressure" finish up the tribute to unflinching glimpses into the world of the classic fuck-up.

Bachmann's "New Drink for the Old Drunk" from Crooked Fingers' 2000 self-titled debut, is a song that's often lodged in my brain, rambling on repeat play for hours and weeks on end, providing a cautionary soundtrack for this blasted teetotaling life of mine. Both love song and lament for an older, less wise innocence, Crooked Fingers and its 2001 follow up Here Come the Snakes retrace the steps of a past as footfalls continue to land in the same territory. However unoriginal, Reservoir Songs is a tribute to Bachmann's own muse.

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