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Archers Of Loaf - Icky Mettle

  by Andy Cassidy

published: 27 / 10 / 2011

Archers Of Loaf - Icky Mettle
Label: Select Label
Format: N/A


Andy Cassidy looks at North Carolina-based alternative rock band Archer of Loaf's 1993 debut album 'Icky Mettle', which is about to be reissued in a two CD edition

Originally released in 1993, 'Icky Mettle' is the debut album from North Carolina’s Archers of Loaf and this release is the first in Fire Records’ series of re-issues of all four of the band’s studio albums. Packed with bonus material and new liner notes by Robert Christgau (the self-proclaimed “Dean of American Rock Critics”), the album is an attractive two disc set well suited to existing fans and newcomers alike. One of my pet hates is when one plays a “special edition” CD and, after the album proper is over, three or four sub-standard b-sides or out-takes suddenly appear. Basically, I like to listen to the album as it was intended to be listened to, and seek out any other material as and when I feel like it. This release bypasses this problem by having the remastered album on disc one and all the additional material on the second disc. The remastering process has cleaned up the album a great deal – I remember hearing the original version and finding it a little under-produced, but this release provides a crystal clear album with none of the “murk” of the prior version. Musically, the Archers are very much in the Foo Fighters mould – heavy rock with well thought out melodies backed by heavily distorted guitars and pounding drums. This album contains the band’s first two singles, 'Wrong' and 'Web to Front', and both tracks are as fresh today as they were when they were initially released. The bonus disc contains the EP 'Archers of Loaf vs The Greatest of All Time' and five of the group’s singles, three of which are paired with their original B sides. Included is the band’s first single and B side which was originally given away as a free cover-mount with 'Stay Free!' magazine. Also included is the group’s wonderfully surreal tribute to Broadway star Ethel Merman, originally the B side to 'What Did You Expect?' The liner notes are insightful and interesting, and the packaging of the two disc set is impressive. Clearly a great deal of time and thought has been put into this re-issue, and the effort has paid off. This is a great re-issue of an important album in the history of alt-rock, and a wonderfully packaged collection of the rare and the familiar. It is to be hoped that the remaining three re-issues will be up to the high standard set by this release.

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