Crooked Fingers Bring on the Snakes

Just over a year since we were asked to become accustomed to his latest disguise, Eric Bachmann presents the second Crooked Fingers offering, Bring on the Snakes. Growing up with Eric has taken another turn, forcing us to step back once again and re-evaluate the sounds that make us tick. We thrashed and smashed along to the Archers of Loaf's debut, Icky Mettle, eight short years ago, as Bachmann lent us phrase after phrase of onomatopoeic mantras. When the noise got on our nerves, he invited us to cosy up to Barry Black in 1995. Now, many years and fancy song titles later, we're nestled around the fire as our bard plays acoustic guitar to programmed beats. While it's hard to fathom that Bachmann has buried his boisterous past, we need not look too far back to be reminded of other rockers gone soft at some point in their careers. And the softness on Bring on the Snakes is certainly no indication of the song calibre. Still obsessed with death, gloom and destruction, Bachmann manages to dress up the subject matter more beautifully than ever. "Devil's Train" rolls along like an old Bruce Cockburn standard, and I mean that in the least veggie-eatin', protest-rallying way possible. Old influences like Neil Diamond and Shane MacGowan rear their head as usual, as the drunken melodies slow dance from "Sad Love" to the closing "There's A Blue Light." The cool song titles have been left behind, and I feel fat and old, but I like it. (Warm)