Breaks in the Armor

Breaks in the Armor

Breaks in the Armor is the sixth release under the Crooked Fingers moniker for former Archers of Loaf leader Eric Bachmann. For consistency, depth, and lasting power, this one ranks with 2003’s Red Devil Dawn as being among his best work. The album’s flow is impeccable, beginning with two driving, stripped-down rockers before the tension is released with the hauntingly beautiful “The Hatchet.” This push and pull continues through spare ballads like “Heavy Hours” and “War Horses,” the rhythmically jagged “Black Candles,” and the raw and intense “Went to the City” and “She Tows the Line,” both of which build to emotional finishes. Bachmann’s vocals are riveting whether he’s belting it out or quietly growling, and the subtle tempo shifts from song to song keeps the drama high throughout. He’s joined here by frequent collaborator (and niece of Vic Chesnutt) Liz Durrett, who makes significant contributions on backing vocals and various instruments.

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