Archers of Loaf

White Trash Heroes

BY Michael EdwardsPublished Aug 7, 2012

If there's one thing that the Archers of Loaf reissues have taught us, it's that the band were the most underestimated of the '90s alternative boom. While others spent more time in the spotlight, the Archers were busy leaving behind a mighty discography, which is better than pretty much anyone else's from that era. Rather than ending with a whimper, they left with a confusing burst of creativity that hinted at what lay ahead once this particular chapter came to a close. Time has been rather kind to White Trash Heroes, especially knowing what came next and that helps make sense of it all ― it's no longer the mess it once appeared to be. The sleeve notes on this final deluxe reissue state that "this is the sound of a band in the midst of a slow breakup," and it's hard to disagree. The tracks cover a great deal of ground. There's the familiar guitar rock they cut their teeth on, but also some surprising twists and turns that include synths and even vocoders ― all perfectly formed moments that stand by themselves even if, as a whole, the album is fragmented. And, once again, the demos on the second CD are there just to take up space, as there are only a few extra tunes thrown in. As a swansong, White Trash Heroes is better than most and, more importantly, the band knew when to call it a day before things got stale. The Archers never got stale ― they just ended.
(Merge Records)

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