Consumer Guide Album
Archers of Loaf: All the Nations Airports [Alias, 1996]
What verbal content you can parse might be sardonic if it carried any emotional weight at all--conned customers, security from LAX to JFK, assassination on Christmas eve. Yet it's too hoarse and wild to seem detached or even deadpan; basically what it gives off is intelligence, as a given you live with rather than a goal you achieve. The import's in croaked, wild, intelligent music that's also virtuosic, especially up against the myriad alt bands who fancy themselves players these days. The controlled discord of the four instrumentals recalls the compositional smarts of Eric Bachmann's sax-based Barry Black, but the nasty little guitar lines have Eric Johnson all over them, and bass and drums put in their two bits as well. True, their WEA debut could be more songful. But don't blame them for making the most of the cognitive dissonance that is their lot.