Icky Mettle (Reissue)

Archers of Loaf were the last of the great Nineties bands to reunite, which makes sense. Ambivalence was the engine of their glorious slacker racket: "With all of my might, I do this/It's a waste of my time to pursue this," Eric Bachmann yowled on their 1993 debut, Icky Mettle. The no-frills North Carolinians were nobody's glamour boys (they made Superchunk look like TLC), but they perfected the genre moves: bracing attack, two-guitar blurs of dissonance and beauty, a sympathetic barker wringing emotion from lyrics about the insular rock scene and girls who stalked it. (The second CD here is the rare bonus disc that actually feels like a bonus, tossing in the excellent Vs the Greatest of All Time EP from 1994.) Even on a jeremiad like "Audiowhore," Bachmann sounds like a good guy. He's a grouch you'd want to have a beer with.

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From The Archives Issue 1136: August 4, 2011