Five Crooked Lines is Finger Eleven’s first new album in five years and the guys come out swinging. Title track Gods of Speed is instantly recognizable as the band we all loved from Paralyzer and One Thing, with a heavier less dance influenced sound. Criminals carries on the rock but adds a touch of synth and dance groove in the sub-beats.The lyrics in Criminals aren’t exactly intriguing or mind shattering but its a decent head banging/swaying tune.
Things change a little with Save Your Breath as lyrics are literally spat out, the tone of the verses is angry and emotional. The bridge is airy for a split second as all instruments quit to highlight the vocals then slam back into full on heavy. This is by far our favourite song on the album (so far).
The current Finger Eleven radio single, Wolves at the Door, is not our favourite by any means – but it’s definitely the most commercial of all songs on the album. Boppy and addictive but we like the meat and potatoes this band offers with other tracks better.
Wolves at the Door was a necessary prequel to the instrumental intro of Come On, Oblivion however.. and it works well in sequence. Come On, Oblivion is the softer track on the album, catchy, lilting in tone and very reminiscent of Peter Gabriel! (a plus in our view). This isnt to say that the song is a ballad or snoozer, it kicks up a notch to match the rest of the album, but never loses the overall feel of ‘head in the clouds.’ As I’m listening for the first time (4th time) this song is the sort that gets better with each indulgence.
Not Going to Be Afraid is the anthem song of the album, but not quite.. its a little tame in the chorus in recorded form but one can well imagine crowds of concert goers with raised fists jumping and yelling the chorus at shows — and that’s the power of music.
Five Crooked Lines is the album’s title track, and begins a little like a mashup of Nirvana meets White Stripes – hard to describe and very punchy. Some elements of spiritually make appearances on this album (Gods of Speed) and again in Five Crooked Lines, with references to the Lake of Flames (from Scripture) but it’s a reference only and no specific statement. Wish there was more to this song.. leaves me a little wanting.
Blackout Song is less generalizations and more introversion, a bit of a love song? Definitely about relationships and a woman. This song’s melody has a bit of a 60’s feel and I swear I hear kazoos. Wishful thinking perhaps! The song eases into the next, Absolute Truth which has an odd beat that mismatches the lyrics. Sonically its a bit of a contradiction between sound and words and a little hard to follow. Every album has to have a least favorite – this is the one.
Lost for Words is dark. Brooding. Melancholy. Love it. The heavy droning drum beat dominates the verses to perfection. Will have to listen to this one a few times to understand the story behind the lyrics- there is a definite story to this one. Sensory Eraser and A New Forever are the final cuts on the album. At 12 songs, this album feels about 3 songs too long unless you’re a die-hard Finger Eleven fan. Sensory Eraser doesn’t do much for me, I’ll be skipping it on my iPod and not missing it. A New Forever however, is one not to be skipped. As dark and heavy as the opening riffs of Gods of Speed is, this is lighter, but not necessarily brighter. All the songs on this album are rooted in heavy emotion, observations on relationships, and the closer is no different lyrically. The album ends with a guitar solo fading into silence. Perfect.
Check out the album now out at all major outlets, and catch Finger Eleven on their Fall of the Hammer tour with dates in Kelowna and Vancouver, October 29 and 30 respectively. More dates can be found at the band’s website.
Check out our review for the band’s video Wolves and Doors, as well as lyric video for Blackout Song below.
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