streams new album No Recover
this week on Bitter Southerner
There was something sinister about Crooked Fingers, both the name of the project and the music that Eric Bachmann wrote at the helm of its ever-shifting lineups over 15 years. He retired the moniker a couple of years ago, but with his third album under his own name, the transformation feels gorgeous and final and irreversible: No Recover. While not officially out until Friday on Merge Records, Bitter Southerner is allowing you to test-drive Bachmann’s forthcoming record this week, saying “Too damned many musicians have hard times growing up at all. Which is why we have to treasure the ones who mature and bring their music with them.”
The sunset on the album’s cover might be the end of a cruel world for the duo in “Jaded Lover, Shady Drifter,” who introduce No Recover; they feel like flip-side lovers, both sonically and lyrically, of the couple at the center of Bring On the Snakes’ “The Rotting Strip.” But that dark sentiment is quickly reversed with “Daylight,” one of Bachmann’s most stunning vocal performances ever: For a guy who earned his stripes by shredding his vocal cords in the ’90s, he sure can croon. And though the words cast some shadows—“fight for your life,” he implores—ultimately there is hope. “If you try, you can be loved.”
Same goes, to a less direct degree, for “Waylaid,” the record’s jauntiest song, and a meditation on failure and love that leaves room for (Bachmann’s old pal from Archers of Loaf) Eric Johnson’s bright-but-mournful electric guitar to take center stage. But leave it to Bachmann to save the best for last: No Recover ends with one song for his wife and another for his son. “Wild Azalea,” for Liz Durrett—who also makes a brief appearance earlier in the album—is pure ’70s AM gold, including the tinge of sadness that the best of that era embraced. And “Dead and Gone” offers wistful, Bachmann-style comfort to a child. It’s vulnerable and giving, a lifetime promise that somehow intertwines regret and hopefulness.
Pre-order the full-length on CD, LP, and limited-edition black and blue swirl Peak Vinyl in the Merge store (with an option to bundle it with an exclusive t-shirt) or record store. The album can also be pre-ordered through your preferred digital music service.