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Ladyfinger (ne)
Dusk
Saddle Creek Records
www.ladyfingersucks.com


Ladyfinger (ne), the (ne) standing for Nebraska where the band originates, have a modern rock sound with a profusion of retro rock intonations reminiscent of Chris Cornell, particularly in the dark echo of lead vocalist Chris Machmuller's register, which even turns as dark as a cavernous resonance relatable to Ozzy Osbourne on some tracks. The rumbling beats of bassist Ethan Jones and drummer Pat Oakes display a West Coast-based heavy metal thrusting as guitarists Jamie Massey and Machmuller create blustering riffs reminiscent of Dave Navarro's work in The Panic Channel. The greatest compliment is that the album billows with a Cornell-style grunt and the soaring patterns reflective of Navarro, but the worst thing about the album is that there isn't much diversity in the tracks to distinguish them. The album is like one long riff which causes the album to stand in one place. It becomes a bit stifling for the listener, who can sense that there is potential in this band laying dormant on this album.

Dusk is Ladyfinger (ne)'s second full-length record following their debut album, Heavy Hands and their self-titled EP. They've been honing their chops in the trenches of the indie rock market, and there they became acquainted with record producer Matt Bayles (Mastodon, Minus the Bear, Isis) who produced both Heavy Hands and Dusk. Their new album opens with a spread of vintage metal tunage gassing up tracks like "Over And Over" and "A.D.D." as Machmuller's vocals punch out with an iron-fisted hammering. The valleys and peaks along "Little Things" build up to a swath of muscular guitar shreds moving like guided missiles racing across the grumbling blusters produced by the rhythmic beats as Machmuller's vocals latch onto the metal-fringed hooks. The center of the album begins to repeat these patterns in "Two Years," "Read The Will," and "World Party." It causes the listener to feel lost, thinking that these tracks are an endless stream of recurring sequences. The following number "Bones" has a punk-inspired pogo pouncing, which sets it apart from the other tracks and a guitar solo that can shatter glass. "Plans" has a marching band-stylized drumming in the intro, which segues into the band's usual heady rumbling and fomenting guitar shreds. The final two tracks "Let's Get Married" and "Born In The Eighties" are equally metal-encrusted tunes with soaring riffs and fiery vocals inflicting harsh thuds ramming into the melodies with the weight of a mallet.

Ladyfinger (ne)'s latest album Dusk revives the metal madness equated with Ozzy, Cornell and Navarro. The band's weakest part is their repetitiveness, which causes the listener to [almost] feel stifled as the band stalls at times, preventing them from moving forward. If the band can break through these impasses and flex their muscles a little more, they could be as big as Metallica were in the '90s, or at least that is the direction that their music is heading them towards.

-Susan Frances

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