Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Archers Of Loaf - Web In Front

I have to admit I’m a little bit late to the party on this one. A couple years ago I happened upon a random web forum thread posing the question “what is the ultimate indie-rock song of all time?” Scrolling through the sea of posts, all of the favorites were well represented: Teenage Riot, Debaser, Summer Babe (Winter Version), etc.

I decided to check out a few I’d never heard of. Web In Front by Archers Of Loaf fell in that category. Knowing nothing about the band, I felt pretty safe, after only one listen, in agreeing that “yes, this is indeed one of the best indie-rock songs of all time.” (I should qualify that by mentioning my tendency to jump the gun; when it was first announced, I thought the Segway was actually better than sliced bread.) But Web In Front, two years later, remains heavily fortified high atop my version of “the list.”

Pretentious bandwagoning aside, Web In Front via The Speed Of Cattle accomplishes in slightly over two minutes (two minutes!) what most bands struggle to accomplish over the course of an entire catalogue. Its immediately energetic pace and weird-enough-to-be-brilliant lyrics keep you engaged just long enough for the crescendo to pick you up, put you down, and disappear, all before you have the chance to say “holy shit!”

The Speed Of Cattle, as a whole, is no slouch either. In its lo-fi splendor reminiscent of its decidedly more successful first cousin Slanted And Enchanted, it is an excellent record, start to finish.

The more obvious comparison is Nirvana, though. Eric Bachmann mimics Cobain’s rasp on many of the tracks, rather poorly I might add, but it doesn’t elicit the same gag reflex that we’ve come to expect a little over a decade after the scene’s heyday. You can’t hold it against Bachmann, especially when he’s screaming a lyrical masterpiece such as “Power walker / you really look so stupid when you walk that way / you really look so dumb when you walk that way / why don’t you just fucking run?

And while I can’t help but think that The Speed Of Cattle could’ve been edited down to a more reasonable 40-50 minutes from the 60 minute monstrosity that it is, I can’t say that there is a single song that doesn’t belong.


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