Royal Fingerbowl is the sound of a young, less despondent Tom Waits away from the piano fronting a rock combo. The graveled voice and equally dirty guitar work of Alex McMurray puts grit into this pawn shop fingerbowl. Several different horns, organ and accordion, mostly courtesy the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars, enriches nearly every track. Somewhat rural and as much downbeat rock, this album is an unhappy hour soundtrack for the local watering hole where woe and silent wailing needs a background. Royal Fingerbowl's arrangements and song construction dovetails finely with their overt themes of loss, distance and pain.
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AllMusic Review by Tom Schulte