Archers of Loaf All The Nations Airports

Archers of Loaf All The Nations Airports
This release lived up to the "difficult third album" truism for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the Archers were almost on autopilot, having carved out a respectable niche for themselves up to this point. It wasn't that they were short of ideas ― album number four amply demonstrated that ― but they were just so damned good at doing what they did. The other reason is that this is a record that works best when taken as an entirety; it lacks the obvious singles that its two predecessors had and, as a result, takes a little bit of getting used to. It's a wonderfully relentless release that takes everything great about the group and revels in it. The clanging guitars and the crankiness of Eric Bachmann's lyrics dominate, but there are also some rare, lovely moments ("Chumming the Ocean") and some of their work, bar none, such as "Assassination On X-Mas Eve." The second disc is a little bit of a disappointment compared to the actual album. It only has a couple of non-album tracks, plus four-track demos of the entire record, but those demos aren't significantly different from the finished product. Maybe they just didn't record anything extra for what is possibly their best album. (Merge)