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Reason In Decline

Archers Of Loaf

Reason In Decline

Merge
LP $21.35

10/21/2022 673855079516 

MRG 795 


***As sculpted shards of guitar—tumbling, tolling, squalling—shower the jittery bounce of a piano on opener “Human,” it’s obvious that Reason in Decline, Archers of Loaf’s first album in 24 years, will be more than a 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, the distilled shudder of “Human” is an entirely different noise. In fact, it’s a startling revelation. 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. Second, singer-songwriter Bachmann, after throat surgery, relearned how to sing (this time from his diaphragm); as a result, he no longer howls like the angriest head cold on the Eastern Seaboard. And now, his lyrics balance righteous wrath with a complex tangle of adult perspective. 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. Peace.

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