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Heavy (handed) metal from
the Cornhusker State

Ladyfinger (NE) - Dusk
(Saddle Creek Records)
2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Feb. 17, 2009
Ladyfinger (NE)

Review by Tony Bonyata

Funny, but when I noticed that the band Ladyfinger (NE)'s latest full-length was on the Omaha, NE-based record label Saddle Creek I was expecting to hear something, perhaps, a bit rootsier or indie-centric in the vein of label mates Bright Eyes or Cursive (the former led by the original label founder Conor Oberst). So when I popped their sophomore record Dusk in, I was surprised to hear something much harder and heavier.

Not that this isn't the label's first foray into something more aggressive and edgy - case in point, their 2007 acquisition of Canadian-based band Tokyo Police Club. But whereas TPC definitely rock hard, Ladyfinger (NE) take it to more of an extreme. With staccato guitar riffs, pummeling jackhammer rhythms and frontman/guitarist Chris Machmuller's vocals at times hearkening back to Ozzy Osbourne before he became a sad self-parody, these four Nebraskans (hence the (NE) in their band name, which was added in 2006 due to legal issues with another band of the same name) have turned in - for better or worse - a dyed-in-the-wool heavy metal album.

Of course, metal has many factions, and while Ladyfinger (NE)'s heavy-handed rock may appeal to emo kids weaned on My Chemical Romance or A.F.I. it's highly unlikely to prick the ears of those discernable lovers of, say, Iron Maiden, Metallica or Norwegian Black metal for that matter. In fact, the main problem with Dusk as a whole is that, while built on a bedrock of power and aggression, the majority of the songs here are void of any lasting hooks or memorable songs structures (save for the Foo Fighters-inspired rocker "Bones," the riff heavy opener "Over and Over," the punky stomp of "Born In The '80s" and the decidedly poppier "Little Things.") While many of these songs may jumpstart the party, after some forty-plus minutes, much of Dusk ends up running on noxious fumes.

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