Ladyfinger (ne)

By • Jan 5th, 2009 • Category: By Jessica Kenney, Featured Review 3, Reviews

Saddle Creek
4 Stars

ladyfinger-ne-dusk Describing a band like Ladyfinger (ne) and the contents of their forthcoming album, Dusk, calls for the overuse of words like “badass,” “raw,” “epic,” “solid,” and “awesome.” The band’s MySpace page pins their genre as “Rock/Rock/Rock,” and really, there’s no better way to describe them. Ladyfinger (ne) has a knack for interesting riffs, instead of your everyday, basic chords being used over and over. Biffy Clyro makes a good stylistic comparison to this band. The songs on this album are alike enough to maintain your intrigue in every song, yet different enough to avoid the ever-present trap of repetitiveness. There is not a dull moment to be found on Dusk. Instead, what you have is a full forty minutes of badass, raw, epic, solid awesomeness.

 Dusk does not simply begin ever-so-politely as other albums do. Most albums open up with one of their best songs in a hopeful effort to gain the listener’s approval. Ladyfinger (ne) holds your approval hostage and screams, “You will listen to this entire album, and you will fucking like it!” This crime scene of an opening is titled “Over And Over,” and may very well be one of the most attention-demanding songs I’ve heard in a long time. Ladyfinger (ne) puts their best foot forward immediately with this song, combining powerful riffs and chords with powerful, forceful drumming. Then comes the dynamic, earth-shaking vocals of Chris Machmuller, who is equally skilled in both smooth and rough singing. With these fine elements blended together, you’ve got yourself a damn near perfect rock song. Badass.


And to think… that was only the introduction.


A few awesome tracks later is the song “Two Years,” which stood apart from the other songs for a few reasons, the first being the introduction. The first thirty-or-so seconds trick you into thinking that, gasp, this rock-solid album’s got a slow track! But instead, this thirty-second lull is merely a short recovery period – a chance to catch your breath before the band hits you with their next shot. The second reason this song stands out is because of the subtle use of distortion. Maybe this only happens to me, but when a song really makes me want to rock out, I start to imagine what that song would be like performed live. But in “Two Years,” the distortion adds just enough echo to give the illusion that the recording was done during a live performance. It’s not the most major innovation ever but it will make a difference when you’re stuck in traffic at rush hour on the interstate.


“Plans” takes a slight detour from the rest of the album. The majority of this track is sung with clean vocals. In a Foo Fighters-like style, it takes a smoother approach to the “rock” genre than the other songs on the album, which pride themselves on an entirely edgy consistency. But this song isn’t so different that it’s an outcast to the rest of the album. Instead, the contrast is refreshing, which is what makes it a mark of talent on the part of Ladyfinger (ne). Devices like tempo change and vocal layering help this song’s distinctiveness, but it’s the grand guitar duet finale that makes this song a total success despite its slight stylistic differences.


And of course, what kind of four-star album would this be if it didn’t go out with a bang? Final track, “Born in the 80’s,” serves as the epic ending to match the equally epic beginning. What makes this song particularly epic, you ask? Well, the two-and-a-half minute instrumental intro, for one. If you somehow missed the message throughout the rest of the album, this large chunk of song is the band’s final attempt to impress you with how good they are at collaborating instrumental sequences. Additionally, a unique feature of this song is the way it seems to be a cornucopia of each type of music that has influenced Ladyfinger (ne), including (but probably not limited to) classic, punk, grunge, and progressive rock. “Born in the 80′s,” and for that matter, the rest of the album, is a hurricane of all things we associate with rock as a musical genre.


No true rocker should be without Ladyfinger (ne)’s Dusk. To put it bluntly, it’s basic rock at its best. A quote from the band’s MySpace page describes my exact feelings on this album perfectly – “We’re not going to sit around and tell you this is going to save rock and roll. We’ll leave that up to the big boys. But for now, this saved rock for us. We think it’s going to help to save it for you, too.” – JESSICA KENNEY

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