BioAfter the Archers of Loaf disbanded, noted songwriter and indie-rock icon Eric Bachmann took his music in a different direction when he formed CROOKED FINGERS in 2000. Instead of the clamorous, angular rock of old, he began creating the sumptuous and delicately melancholic songs that have come to define the band.
CROOKED FINGERS' latest album, Dignity and Shame, is chief songwriter Bachmann's masterpiece. The band convened last spring at Jupiter Studios in their Seattle homebase with producer Martin Feveyear (Screaming Trees, The Minus Five, Presidents of the United States of America, Rosie Thomas) to record and mix new songs. After recording 21 tracks that were intended to be a double record, the band pared the album down to 12 powerful songs of love, lost and found, illustrated by Bachmann's heartbreaking yet newly hopeful lyrics.
The fourth proper CROOKED FINGERS full-length release, Dignity and Shame shows the band taking a decidedly new route. Their first three releases (Crooked Fingers, Bring on the Snakes, Red Devil Dawn) were filled with gorgeous portraits of the broken down and abused, the drunken and the melancholy, augmented by string arrangements and orchestral flourishes. In contrast, the beauty of Dignity and Shame lies in its simplicity and accessibility. Bachmann's vocals are at their most confident, while subtle lap steel surfaces from time to time to complement the standard guitar / bass / drums set up. The infusion of Latin influences that began on Red Devil Dawn has been taken to the forefront on Dignity and Shame - the bold Spanish guitar of the opening instrumental "Islero" to the hint of mariachi in the trumpet line of "Twilight Creeps" depicts a band expanding on their signature sound. In addition, Lara Meyerratken, the Australian singer / keyboardist / songwriter who has collaborated with Ben Lee, Luna, Nada Surf, and Luscious Jackson, lends her Siren-like voice to four tracks on the record. These new elements combine to make Dignity and Shame the band's most cohesive and sophisticated work to date.