Archers of Loaf - Reason in Decline (Merge Peak Red & Purple Swirl Vinyl)
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 is an entirely different noise. In fact, it’s a startling revelation. Reason in Decline will be released worldwide by Merge Records on October 21st, 2022.
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. I didn’t care what it ended up sounding like.”
Archers of Loaf’s first tour of duty ended after 1998’s White Trash Heroes. The album did not raise the band’s once touted commercial roof, and the members—Bachmann, Johnson, bassist Matt Gentling, and drummer Mark Price started drifting in different directions with other projects & real life. Price was unable to play without extreme pain due to carpal tunnel syndrome. Bachmann itched to try a different musical approach. Everyone was tapped out in one way or another. Though the four remained good friends and convened for occasional reunion gigs (to support Merge’s 2011–12 album reissues, for instance), they never worked on new music. Gentling had joined Band of Horses; Johnson, now a criminal defense attorney in Asheville, North Carolina, contributed guitar to projects when he had the time. On his own, Bachmann thrived, releasing 11 albums of atmospheric, folky rock/pop under his own name or “group” moniker Crooked Fingers. In recent years, he’d toured as a sideman/foil for torch-country star Neko Case.