Crooked Fingers: Breaks in the Armor  

Merge

It's the recent reunion of Eric Bachmann's former band Archers of Loaf that's been getting all the publicity, but the coy Bachmann has quietly put out a stellar set of material under another name. Breaks in the Armor is a confident and beautiful record, the sixth LP from Crooked Fingers and maybe the best of the collection. Since we last left Bachmann he relocated back to Athens, and he seems to have subsequently found a measure of internal balance. Sonically, Breaks benefits from the presence of two talented outsiders: producer Matt Yelton, whose subdued, hands-off approach lends itself to Bachmann's sturdy songwriting, and Athens songwriter Liz Durrett, whose airy alto pairs nicely with Bachmann's gravelly voice. Flubs are few and far between — Bachmann reaches for some serious high notes on "Went to the City" and almost finds them — on an album that is a serious contender for top 10 of the year. (4 out of 5 stars)

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