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Icky Mettle (Remastered)

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Album Review

Raw, swirling, and remarkably brash, Archers of Loaf’s debut, Icky Mettle, helped to establish the North Carolina band as a force to be reckoned with in the pantheon of '90s indie rock. With their layered, guitar-heavy approach and driving energy, the album feels like an artifact from an alternate time line when the Pixies decided to get more and more aggressive after Surfer Rosa. Though Archers of Loaf don't completely eschew the idea of harmony, they certainly take a more smash-and-grab approach to it, paving the road to sonic bliss with destroyed amps and shredded vocal cords. What makes this sound so compelling is the way it explores the full spectrum of guitar-centric rock, pulling together the blunt and abrasive with the thoughtful in the musical equivalent of a shotgun wedding, with the bride and groom doing everything in their power to hold it together while the family is watching on in uneasy silence. This tension is held up throughout the entire album, as both sides of the band's dual nature fight for supremacy in a battle that would leave a permanent mark on the indie rock landscape. [The landmark album was remastered and reissued in 2011 with a second disc of bonus material featuring the band's excellent Vs the Greatest of All Time EP as well as handful of tracks released as 7" singles.]


Formed: 1991 in Chapel Hill, NC

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '10s

The Archers of Loaf were darlings of the indie world in the early to mid-'90s, thanks to an off-kilter sound that was edgy and challenging, yet melodically accessible at the same time. Cornerstones of the Chapel Hill, NC, indie scene that also spawned Superchunk and Polvo, the Archers' chief inspirations were the Replacements and Sonic Youth, but that only began to tell the story. Their music was frequently likened to a more intense, raucous version of Pavement's postmodern pop, and indeed they shared...
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Icky Mettle (Remastered), Archers of Loaf
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