Oy, those pesky gods. Thankfully, like the best of his predecessors, Bachmann keeps a foot down to earth as well. His arrangements are forthright: a folksy foundation salted with percussive synth and sweetened by chivalrous strings. It's a sympathetic setting for his melodies, which are classic-sounding and nearly familiar -- the breakup tune "Disappear," for example, arches as sweetly as a '60s girl-group tune, complete with "my ba-bee" refrains. Of course, the Ronettes would sound mighty strange observing that "red tears flowed down the mountainside/Black dust filled up the starry sky," and such extravagance would sound just as out of place here, without Bachmann's overweight intonations to anchor it.
Not surprisingly, the most moving of the album's 10 tracks is also the least bombastic. "Don't Say a Word," elegant as a Celtic ballad, finds Bachmann dispensing with the vocal and lyrical theatrics in favor of a simple and compassionate meditation on loneliness. This kind of uncommon empathy lends Red Devil Dawn flashes of universal appeal. But solemn, mysterious people with momentous, practically mythic personal lives will like Crooked Fingers all the more.