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Archers of Loaf: The John Elway of Indie Rock?

Posted by September 8th, 2011 No Comments »

By Tim Basaraba 

From the first time my ears took in the phrase “stuck a pin in your backbone,” I have wanted more of Eric Bachmann’s voice in my life.

Why is it, then, that I have never listened to a single Crooked Fingers song?

Let me try to explain.

After AOL’s initial release Icky Mettle in 1994, I assumed their next album could in no way live up to this perfect symbol of INDIE ROCK… the one that introduced me and my Idaho contemporaries to classics like “Plumb Line,” “Learo, You’re a Hole” and of course “Web in Front.”

I was wrong. AOL’s next release, Vs the Greatest of All Time, was even better. It’s the pinnacle of quirky guitar holiness.

This trend of progressively better albums didn’t stop there, though. Their next release Vee Vee took fans to a whole new, layered sonic-scape.

The band did take a slight step backwards with their first major-label release, All the Nation’s Airports, but this was quickly forgotten once their magnum opus White Trash Heroes was released.

Shortly after that, word of the band’s break up sent a chill down my spine. I wanted more.

I would have the opportunity two years after the last AOL album was released when my cousin Jeremy pitched me on Crooked Fingers. He told me it was in no way as good as Archers of Loaf, but that I had to give it a shot. Jeremy not being the best salesman, I decided to pass.

To use a sports metaphor that may date some readers: Archers of Loaf were my John Elway. Denver’s franchise quarterback won the NFL Superbowl and then said “good bye, so long, I’m taking my big teeth and going home. How could you not respect someone that quit on his terms at the top of his game?

If I listened to Crooked Fingers I was sure to be disappointed. It would be like watching Elway play arena league football years after his glorious exit from the NFL.

At press time, John Elway is not coming back to the Broncos, but Archers of Loaf have reunited and are coming to Seattle tomorrow. I’ll be there.

Heck, after the show I might even pick up a Crooked Fingers CD or two.


Archers of Loaf play Neumos Friday, September 9.

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