Saddle Creek Records, 2013
REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/09/2013
One of the louder bands on the Saddle Creek roster, Ladyfinger (ne) self describes themselves as being influenced by early '70s classic rock. While there's certainly plenty of that element across Errant Forms, there's a whole lot of post-punk and even some modern day hard rock intensity evident on this third album.
While there is a steady stream of intricate rhythms and buzzing time signatures on this release, Ladyfinger (ne) also keeps things basic with memorable choruses and timeless rock. While a song like “Meathead” entails a lot of complicated songwriting, others like “Birds,” with its 'woah oh oh' sing-a-long chorus, almost seem primitive by comparison, though I mean that in a very charitable way. The first single, “Dark Horse,” is a powerful tune with gritty guitar work that builds into an explosive fury – it’s an ideal single. The wordplay details frontman Chris Machmuller's journey into adulthood and its sometimes overwhelming responsibilities.
The band clearly have some punk roots, as “Poison For Hire” gets back to this idea with its raw rhythms and lyrics that target the oppressors of society. “Galactic” follows a similar path musically, though the storyline involves aliens and conspiracy theories. Elsewhere they tap into the sort of universal rock that I can imagine Dave Grohl playing air guitar to, like the glorious "Hole In My Sole."
Though the core of the band has remained the same across all their albums, this does sound like a new, more tightly knit Ladyfinger (ne). Chris Machmuller sounds more assured of his vocals than ever, and the music, despite still containing plenty of noisy rock, appears more precise than ever. Though no one seems to be aware of it (not only are they one of the loudest bands on Saddle Creek, they're also one of the least visible compared to their peers), Ladyfinger (ne) is surely one of the most interesting, propulsive and unpredictable rock bands that exists today.