Home Read Albums Of The Week: Archers Of Loaf | Reason In Decline

Albums Of The Week: Archers Of Loaf | Reason In Decline

The underappreciated indie-rock vets return after 24 years to remind you how great they were — & still are — with a disc that celebrates & recalibrates their sonic legacy.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Reason In Decline, Archers Of Loaf’s first studio album since the 1998 release of White Trash Heroes, is no nostalgic, low-impact reboot. When they emerged from North Carolina’s ’90s indie-punk incubator, the Archers’ hurtling, sly, gloriously dissonant roar was a mythologized touchstone of slacker-era refusal. But this new LP is an entirely different noise. In fact, it’s a startling revelation.

Guitarists Eric Bachmann and Eric Johnson, once headstrong smartasses inciting a series of artful pileups on the band’s four studio albums and EP, are now a fluidly complementary, sonically advanced unit. Notably, Johnson’s signature trebly lines peal clearly above the din instead of struggling to be heard. Today, singer-songwriter Bachmann’s lyrics balance righteous wrath with a complex tangle of adult perspective. He still spits bile, but it’s less likely to concern scene politics, music trends, or shady record labels thwarting the dreams of a young rock band.

Bachmann puts it bluntly: “What I really think about going back to the Archers and doing a new record is that the three other members of this band are awesome. It’s not about responding to the past or whatever our bullshit legacy is. I just wanted to work with these guys because I knew the chemistry we had and that we still have. I knew that was rare.”

In short, this is not your father’s Archers Of Loaf, even if you’re a father now who was a fan then. If that’s the case, congrats on surviving the plague and getting to hear this fearlessly poignant record, you alt-geezer! Otherwise, thank your youthful fucking lucky stars, kids! Enjoy Reason In Decline with fresh ears and do as the Archers have been doing: Stay humble, stay informed, express yourself creatively, and try not to lose your goddamned mind while the polar ice caps melt.

Bachmann, Johnson, bassist Matt Gentling and drummer Mark Price formed Archers Of Loaf in Chapel Hill, NC, in 1991. Icky Mettle was the first of four studio albums for the band that seemed to personify what SPIN deemed “a tremendously optimistic time in underground music, that 15-minute period in the early 1990s when it looked like indie-rock really might take over the world.”

The band never officially broke up. Bachmann had another musical project he was working on (Crooked Fingers), and the grind of the traditional album/tour/album cycle started to weigh on the Archers’ desire to continue making music together. After a multi-year hiatus, Archers Of Loaf returned with new music in 2020.”