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Dead Fingers

Dead Fingers

(Fat Possum; US: 18 Feb 2012; UK: Import)

Country-esque duo offers a mixed bag

Dead Fingers sounds like the name of a punk band, or at least a rockabilly-inflected garage band a la The Cramps, but no: this duo plays mainly acoustic, country-tinged tunes, heavy on the slower tunes. There’s not much that calls attention to itself, for better or for worse. The vocals, from Taylor and Kate Hollingsworth, are expressive enough and harmonize nicely, notwithstanding Taylor’s self-conscious Dylanisms on “Another Planet,” “Hold On To” and “Ring Around Saturn.” The guitar playing gets the job done, though the preponderance of acoustic sounds ensures that the overarching vibe on the album is one of low-key introspection. When the electricity is turned up, as on the Lynyrd Skynyrd-flavored honkytonk of “Against the River” and the gritty slide guitar of album standout “Never Be My Man,” the results are noticeably better. A pleasant enough album, then, but far from a compelling one.

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DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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