Music Reviews
Reservoir Songs EP

Crooked Fingers Reservoir Songs EP

(Merge) Rating - 7/10

Only (former Archers of Loaf frontman) Eric Bachmann could inject an added dose of misery, impending gloom and vocal restraint to some random covers on this 5-track EP, the third offering from his Crooked Fingers project.

His recent incarnations (Crooked Fingers, Barry Black with Ben Folds, and a new film score) have left the mid-90's indie-fuzz far behind in favour of banjo and lap steel. The eclectic collection of covers reek of a Carolinian backwoods, chaw-spitting orchestra pulled off with the same trademark, nonchalant intensity that often ignited his Archers quartet into a sonic barrage of off-kilter melody.

On the Kris Kristofferson (!) cover of Sunday Morning Coming Down Bachmann plaintively croaks "The beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad, so I had another for dessert" in a been there before, matter-of-fact manner. A Springsteen reinterpretation of The River pops up as does a throaty, teeth-clenched delivery on Under Pressure. But the renovated Prince classic When You Were Mine is an acoustic, heartbreaking rocking chair gem, a custom fit for Bachmann. "When you were mine you were all I ever wanted to do / Passing my time / Following him whenever he's with you / I love you more than I did when you were mine." The solemn background harmony coincides perfectly with his hungover and half-stoned presence, a simple sadness rather than a mopey (J Mascis) or decidedly barely-conscious and bitter (Mark Lanegan) final product.