Archers of Loaf
with Weird Nightmare
About Archers of Loaf
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” (as in “It’s hard to be human/ When only death can set you free”), is an entirely different noise. In fact, it’s a startling revelation.
A few distinctions between 2022 Archers and the Clinton-era crew—whose “South Carolina” could be heard blaring out of Jordan Catalano’s car radio on ABC teen-angst epic My So-Called Life. First, 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. 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...