Archers of Loaf – at The Middle East Cafe – Review

Archers of Loaf

at The Middle East Cafe
by Amanda Nash
photo by Chris Johnson

On the surface, they’re loud, rough, scratchy and disorganized; but they maintain a solid tunefulness, sincerity, and post-adolescent angst underneath that’s always just within reach. They chain together strings of dissonant chords (diminished/augmented/demented) to drag kicking and screaming out of them a strange, warped harmony. Their recordings, including the current Vee Vee (Alias), are pretty true to their live shows. Live, they galvanize the audience, especially with their loudest, most aggressive tunes like “Fat,” “Lowest Part is Free!” “Harnessed in Slums,” and the more poppy “Plumb Line.” There’s a lot of variation in melody and energy, and during “Greatest of All Time” which starts quietly, ballad-like, the audience sang along, swaying as if it was a folk festival:

They caught and drowned the front man
Of the world’s worst rock ‘n’ roll band
He was out of luck because nobody gave a fuck
The jury gathered all around the aqueduct
Drinking and laughing and lining up
Reminiscing just how bad he sucked
Singing “throw him in the river, throw him in the river…”

The Archers have the distinction of having more consistently interesting lyrics than any band I can name, but not owning up to them. I spoke with Eric Bachmann, lyricist/singer, and Mark Price, drummer, as Eric scarfed down donuts and coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts:

What’s “Vee Vee” (their new album)?
Mark: Oh, Eric picked up this t-shirt at a thrift store for 50 cents. It said “Vee Vee” on the back. We just liked the sound of it.

About your lyrics: Have you been wronged by every woman on the planet?
Eric: We’ve all been wronged. We’ve all been hurt. On the first record, I went into that a lot. It’s not necessarily in the context of a relationship, boy-girl or whatever, it can be any kind of a relationship. The first album was definitely about one particular girl. She’s married now – not a problem. The reason I like certain lyrics and why I think other people like them is, well, they’ll say, “the reason I like that song, is cause you rhyme ‘fucked’ with ‘aqueduct'” – that’s what’s cool about it to me – the simpler things, the linguistic things.