Eric Bachmann - No Recover

by Tim Sentz Rating:6 Release Date:2018-09-07
Eric Bachmann - No Recover
Eric Bachmann - No Recover

The Archers of Loaf never really got their due diligence. Their brand of indie rock was at a time when Pavement and Built to Spill were riding high (for indie rock), but folks weren’t consuming it at the same rate as mainstream muck. Since the demise of the Loaf, lead singer Eric Bachmann has dipped his toes, and then fully plunged into the murky folk-rock territory with Crooked Fingers and his solo material. He returns with No Recover, the follow-up to his 2016 self-titled album, and his fourth overall solo effort.

His decision to veer more folk and less angry alt-rock is due to the vocal strain that Archer’s of Loaf took on his voice. He can’t howl like he used to, and so his work since has focused more on the style he brings to the live setting – living room folk. It’s very acoustically driven, but this time there’s slight traces of electronica implemented. Not quite the degree of electronica that one will find on the castrated folk-pop that’s force-fed on the radio, but in small doses it’s acceptable.

Those hoping for a revived Bachmann of yesteryear should move on, this is aging-rocker keeping it low-key, think of Robert Plant in a coffee shop setting. “Jaded Lover, Shady Drifter” kicks things off, and it’s a serviceable foot-tapper as Bachmann’s weathered vocals come in. His days of hard rocking are long gone, but he’s not afraid to up the ante with some inventive shuffling in the background noise.  He mutes that experimentation on “Daylight” though, and replaces it with windpipes before Enya-like backing vocals wash over us.

No Recover was announced prior to the announcement of Archers of Loaf getting back together for another reunion and possible tour/new album. This announcement mires No Recover but also makes the future look bleak for the Loaf. Bachmann’s solo work has always leaned more introspective, he’s looking more inward than outward which was what made albums like Icky Mettle work so well. Now he’s just going through the motions it seems. His previous album was more hook-based and gave the indication that a new direction for Bachmann was forming. Unfortunately, No Recover doesn’t go that direction so much. There’s very little here that separates Bachmann from the rest of the herd.

After so many albums in this realm, it makes the Archers of Loaf reunion material prospect a little shady. No Recover is a perfectly serviceable album for those wanting a delicately woven folk album to put in the background while you and a few friends gather around a campfire and talk about your high school glory days. Everything about the album screams (though not literally) of complacency, even the album cover of the sunset just says “I give up.” It’s a shame. When compared to his previous milestones, No Recover seems more like a hazy afterthought, evidenced by the lackluster title track’s repeated chorus. All is not lost, but if Bachmann wants to reenergize folks for his best bands return, he’ll need to do more than just add a few knee-slaps and emulate an alternate reality where Eddie Vedder fronts Wilco.

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