Crooked Finger’s Red Devil Dawn is an album that deals with the many aspects of redemption, full of songs which beg for forgiveness from anyone willing to give it.
Whether it’s God or a former lover, all apologies are given and hope is evoked in the end.
Eric Bachman, the lead singer/ songwriter of Crooked Fingers, growls his way through Dawn’s 10 tracks like the bastard son of Neil Diamond and “Cracklin’ Rosie.” The similarities between his style and Diamond’s are so striking that it’s initially laughable.
But Bachman doesn’t aspire to be Brother Love. He would much rather remind people of Bob Dylan as he sings of saviors with “ivory lungs like huge balloons” and ” a boy with one hundred hands/ groping through the dark.” He even wrote two songs titled “Angelina” and “Sweet Marie.”
But Bachman’s Dylan comes across as a Freshman Comp assignment with lyrics that may be fancy, but are not quite original enough to be memorable.
There are, however, a few songs that are outstanding. “Disappear” has the ability of breaking the heart as Bachman begs “Cary, don’t cry/ I’m gonna disappear/ and take this sorrow far away/ so you can live your life.”
Granted, those words are not very creative, but they have more honesty and are sung with more raw power than the convoluted imagery of the opening track “Big Darkness.” “Carrion Doves” is a beautiful poem that successfully accomplishes the art that Bachman fails to achieve with many of the other songs.
It combines lyrics that describe “carrion doves/ hard mingling as the evening aches/ to scavenge empty love” and an amazing string arrangement that could bring tears to any lost soul.
It is a pity that these two gems come at the end of the album, for some may grow impatient before discovering them. Considering the album as a whole, they may have been put there for a reason.
Red Devil Dawn is a noble effort that allows its redeeming moments to inspire hope for Crooked Fingers next attempt at the art it longs to create.