In their own not-at-all-quiet way, Archers of Loaf were one of the best bands of the Nineties. They made a tuneful ruckus: craggy riffs, croaked vocals, and hooks you didn’t know were there till the 10th listen, all in service of songs as heartfelt and sticky as those of acts many times their size. The North Carolina quartet’s output included four good-to-great albums, a killer EP and a handful of immortal singles, and though they built a cult of fans and opened for Weezer, the Archers never got as big as they deserved to be. After they split in 1998, the members went on to other projects, including singer-guitarist Eric Bachmann’s Crooked Fingers. In 2011 they reunited for a successful run of shows, but “Raleigh Days” is their first new music in 22 years.
For the most part, it sounds like vintage ‘Loaf: A shout-along guitar banger that could have gone on 1995’s Vee Vee. One iteration of the chorus — “Raleigh days, from the Fallout Shelter stage/heard you scream you’re gonna be somebody someday” — invokes a North Carolina club that was a proving ground for bands like the Archers as major labels came calling during the Nineties alt-rock boom. There’s a whiff of nostalgia, but mostly, it’s invigorating — especially with a tour scheduled and, one hopes, more new music on the way.
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