Rating: 8 starry eyed clerks out of 10
The latest release by former Archers of Loaf frontman Eric Bachmann, “No Recover,” feels like a natural continuation of his excellent self-titled record from 2016. That was my favorite album to come out that year and I still listen to it all the time, if we’re keeping score at home. “No Recover” is missing the strong “doo wop-esque” female backing vocals that were heavily featured in 2016, instead opting this time for more subtle collaboration via his former bandmate/frequent collaborator/current wife Liz Durrett (backing vocals) and for the first time since Archers of Loaf ended, Eric Johnson (guitar).
(That reminds me, I could really go for another Archers of Loaf reunion tour right about now…maybe they will get back together for Merge 30 next year. While we’re making a wish list, lets also get reunions from Polvo and Breadwinner and Erectus Monotone and get Matt Suggs to come out of retirement or wherever the hell it is he's hiding.)
Anyways, back to “No Recover” – it’s just goddamn fantastic. Bachmann’s output is stripped down and simple without being simplistic, catchy without being cloying. Sure, I’m coming at this as a fanboy who loves every goddamn thing this man touches, but even within that framework I’m telling you this is an exceptional collection of Bachmann’s work. Opener “Jaded Lover, Shady Drifter” sounds like a long lost Kris Kristofferson song. “Daylight” is a masterclass in layered fingerpicking and Bachmann’s not-used-nearly-enough falsetto (or at least what I think is meant to be a falsetto, from a man with a voice as deep as his). “Murmuration Song” is the highlight of the album, probably the most upbeat number and one that sounds like it would fit in nicely on the first “Crooked Fingers” album (that's a huge compliment in my book, that record is perfection). And that’s just the first three songs - I could do this for every track on “No Recover” if pressed, but I think you get the idea.
This won’t be my favorite record of 2018, but that has more to do with the quality of this year than anything negative about “No Recover.” It will most definitely finish high on my list though, another excellent addition to the musical landscape from Eric Bachmann.