Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

Archers Of Loaf sound as vital as ever on Reason In Decline

"Reason In Decline"

Release date: 21 October 2022
Archers of Loaf - Reason In Decline cover
20 October 2022, 00:00 Written by Craig Howieson

24 years is one hell of a hiatus. Socio-cultural, political and musical landscapes have transformed beyond recognition since Archers Of Loafs last record White Trash Heroes in 1998.

It begs the question of whether the band still have anything to offer after all this time away. Thankfully, the answer given on Reason In Decline is a resounding yes.

There was no cataclysmic falling out that brought the bands first tenure to an end. Frontman Eric Bachmann's songwriting barely paused following their dissolution as he continued to write and record under both his own name and as the superb Crooked Fingers. Meanwhile the groups other members Eric Johnson (guitar), Matt Gentling (bass), and Mark Price (drums) focussed on their own personal pursuits and all just got on with the business of living. The fact that they all remained close friends made the smattering of reunion gigs they embarked on a joy. And when Bachmann began working on a set of songs that leant in a rockier direction the decision of who to call seemed obvious.

There is an exasperated angst trickling through Reason In Decline that bridges it to the bands 90s output. This time though Bachmann is casting his view further than North Carolina scenesters as the focus for his dissatisfaction. The political terror inflicted by Americas ruling elite, compounded by the pandemic which threatened to rob him of his livlihood are clearly at the forefront of his mind on the record. As is a determination not to fall into an endless pool of self-pity - regardless of how hard that can be when the world around you is crumbling.

Despite the bulk of its subject matter and sharp edges, Reason In Decline is also perhaps the most nuanced Archers of Loaf record to date. “Aimee” and “War Is Wide Open” are prime examples of Bachmann's shapeshifting songwriting ability, and prove that there is more than enough head space on a Archers Of Loaf record for beautiful, contemplative moments such as these.

Large parts of the appeal of bands such as Archers Of Loaf when they first came through was that they were a nondescript bunch who were just like you; but had the ability to write riffs and melodies that could lift you far beyond your crumby life of school or menial jobs. Reasons In Decline is stuffed with tracks that still do just that; the free-falling guitars of “Saturation and Light”, the lounging swagger of “Breaking Even” and the hands aloft sing along of “Misinformation Age”. These tracks will hold that same escapism for a whole new generation, and for those who have been around long enough to follow the band since its inception, they will perhaps provide them with a reprieve from the lives that maybe didn’t turn out how they planned, or perhaps just get a little bit heavy sometimes.

Reasons In Decline is not a last grasp at relevance from a band past their peak. It is a vital addition to an impressive catalogue from a group who deserve your attention.

Share article

Get the Best Fit take on the week in music direct to your inbox every Friday

Read next