Songs from This Album
Album Reviews: To the Races by Eric BachmannI've had the pleasure of following Eric Bachmann from the early '90s indie rock outfit, Archers of Loaf, to his singer-songwriter project under the Crooked Fingers moniker that eventually evolved into a full-fledged band, to what now appears to be an actual singer-songwriter album released under his own name. Would the real Eric Bachmann please stand up? I think he has. And it turns out he's somewhere between "Solitary Man"-era Neil Diamond, Nebraska-era Springsteen and Johnny Cash doing his mother's hymn book. These would all be compliments, yes.
It's not surprising that the songs have a spiritual feel to them. Bachmann voluntarily lived a solitary life in the back of his van while writing the songs for this album. The songs are definitely the product of an introspective individual getting to his core. To augment the spiritual vibe, Bachmann is joined by hushed angelic voices on a couple of the stand-out tracks: "Man O' War" and "Lonesome Warrior." The album is also highlighted by ballads that Annie Murray would've covered and made hits in the early '70s, like the gentle "Little Bird" (again, a compliment).
But for better or worse, this is not 1972, and as good as this set of songs is, it will most likely go unheard. I can't imagine the majority of Archers of Loaf fans or even the fans of last year's Crooked Fingers album being overly excited about sparse, reflective, singer-songwriter ballads. But I hope I'm wrong and this album finds its audience, because Bachmann's great songs deserve to be heard, whether he's rocking them from a stage or whispering them to himself from the back of a van. - Doug Kamin
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