this might have been one of the first times i really appreciated record writing – think about what makes a great album. you know, the kind of thing that used to be “the product” instead of singles and viral digital units of music. you always knew you’d rarely love every song on an album, but without those lesser songs it’d still be somehow incomplete.
i didn’t start with this album. my best friend as a yoof gave strong recommendation to white trash heroes and i taped it (yes, cassette taped it) from her. i was cynical because for some very bizarre and inexplicable reason i had erroneously associated archers of loaf with alice in chains and even tool to some degree. no, none of that makes sense. i trace it to seeing one darkened video clip on rage that had visual elements the same, and a lot of guitar noise. that’s still not a good enough excuse…
anyway, i’m glad i surpassed the pre-conceived prejudice, because it led me to discover a couple of brilliant albums. and with this i revisit why fuck that band can sometimes be a big mistake – sometimes you realise it and remedy the situation. otherwise, you don’t know what you don’t know.
for the flow of this album, take the movement from attack of the killer bees into rental sting – a bit of noise fuzz to transition then quietness and some of the clearest singing from eric bachmann. it’s a great example of how music can have rhythmic and melodic themes and still not just be variations on the same song.
and it arrived at something i would never have predicted based on my assumptions; the beautiful chumming the ocean. this to me is as effective at conveying a kind of longing that, in the rest of my collection, vests to the likes of will oldham and jason molina. it actually makes me think of dutch harbor brought up just days ago. towards the end of the album, there’s another pass with distance comes in droves. both songs are conceptually and practically brilliant.
listening to this album fleshes out a concept i touched on with the war on drugs, which seems to be a modern album sensibility. a sort of respect paid to a fully told sonic and lyrical story, not just a sound byte driven to success by an artificial networked fickleness. and it’s not just respect – not a token – a clear sign that some musicians still see the value in taking themselves and their fans on a journey in one fifty-minute creation. the archers contained it solely to the 1990s – resulting in music that doesn’t sound like it only belongs in that time. it is for the future as much as the past, and that’s why i love artists who are still constructing music in ways that will live on.
i get that this isn’t the most vital or angry album in the archers of loaf fairly short catalogue, but that doesn’t bother me. i don’t need to drown in testosterone or vitriol – things i’m even more conscious of these days than i ever was. see, men can still be men without being misogynistic pricks.