The early 1990s was a wonderful time to be a CD buyer . New bands were emerging from the US and taking guitar-based rock in a range of exciting directions. Unfortunately the period is now characterised as “grunge” and not much else. Sure, that was what stuck in the broader public’s minds, but there was much more happening. This album is a wonderful example of the alternative alternative sound.
Archers of Loaf are much more in the college rock vein than their north-western counterparts. They build upon the work of Husker Du, The Replacements and the like, rather than more hard-edged punk. They are more straight-ahead than their contemporaries Pavement, and every time I play Modest Mouse, I think of these guys.
“Icky Mettle” is an excellent debut and holds up well after 15 years. It kicks off with the stand-out track, Web in Front – the poppiest of their tunes. The album gets dirtier as it progresses, with more angular guitar sounds and stronger vocals. There is some nifty percussion driving Hate Paste, and Toast is an excellent rocking out moment.
I am very happy to have rediscovered this album on my shelf. I’ll be playing it regularly from now on.
File under: A well-aged classic