Dead Fingers – Big Black Dog (ALBUM REVIEW)

deadfingersalbumOn their stunning sophomore album Big Black Dog, Birmingham, AL duo Dead Fingers create eccentric and imaginative soundscapes. Songs about heartbreak, uncertainty and resilience are kooky and unique, but always thoughtful. Dead Fingers are a band to watch. The husband and wife duo join an impressive lineup of acts on the Big Legal Mess/Fat Possum label, and they continue to add their signature to that distinct Southern Americana vibe.

“Big Black Dog” and “Big Black Dog Revisited” are wonderfully weird Southern gothic explorations of identity, danger and the unknown. Taylor Hollingsworth’s quirky, bleary rasp howls with abandon, while Kate Taylor’s angelic coo softens their sound. They sound best when they’re harmonizing, like on the fast-paced and fun “Twisted”. Taylor’s voice is full of subtle imperfections, but that’s what gives it so much character, and adds a nicely unexpected edge to her gentle sound.

“Pomp and Circumstance”, a heart wrenching breakup ballad about falling out of love is one of Taylor’s vocal highs on Big Black Dog, though there are many. “When it was over, I left/took my pieces and kept on my way,” she sings, and she might as well be walking out on us, too. The retro Dixie pop tune “We’re All Alone” is another, with its cutesy harmony. They put a country spin on the multi-generational shared feeling of being lost and confused in life.

“Still Haven’t Been Satisfied” is their gorgeous road song with a driving beat that’s almost engine-like. You can practically hear the train chugging along, as they sing about the endless struggle of searching for “that peace of mind.”

“The Races” and “Feet Back on the Ground” are full of hope, with a tambourine heartbeat. Hollingsworth and Taylor have a knack for making their two voices sound like a rich, lush chorus as they sing about accepting change. Their powerful doo-wop harmonies make the theme of vulnerability sound fun and exciting.

“Shoom Doom Babba Labba” is one of the quirkiest oddballs of the record. An indie rock meets country corn-picker, this tune has the funny vintage kitsch we love in a Dead Fingers number, and paints authentic Southern scenery. The song is wildly alive and colorful, which is fitting as they sing about feeling alive. Another Southern gem is “Holy Water”, one of the more atmospheric songs offered on Dog. Like an old western ballad, its ominous tone is still a blast of black-tinged, gothic country.

The true standout of the record is “Free Tonight”, a sweet, romantic duet between Hollingsworth and Taylor in which their two styles merge so perfectly. Not all of their songs feel like true duets, despite the fact that they often sing together and simultaneously, but this one truly is. It’s proof that simple is best when they sing, “I’m still calling to say/Hey baby, it’s just me/Are you free tonight/Cause it’s been awhile/Since I’ve seen your smile/And I was hopin’ that you’d show those teeth to me.” It’s a song about a toxic relationship that still hits the spot, despite the inevitable pain.

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One thought on “Dead Fingers – Big Black Dog (ALBUM REVIEW)

  1. Tom Reply

    Nice!

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