Twenty-five years after Archers of Loaf broke onto Chapel Hill, North Carolina’s vital indie scene, frontman Eric Bachmann is recording the rawest, most honest work of his career under his own name. The March 25th release of Eric Bachmann marks the end of Bachmann’s post-Archers solo project Crooked Fingers, and the beginning of a candid new sound.
“To me, the ’90s were for the Archers… The 2000s were for Crooked Fingers,” says Bachmann. “I feel like now—in 2015, 2016—it’s time to metamorphose. When you do this for a long time, you feel a strong pull to reinvent things from time to time, or at least to reconfigure them. There is resistance, of course, from many places to remain the same. But after a while the dam breaks, and the compulsion to change becomes overwhelming. You just have to do it or you sort of feel like you’re not being true to yourself.”
Where Archers had attitude and guitar-driven intensity, Eric Bachmann has vulnerability, led by piano, rich vocal harmonies, and Bachmann’s hard-won liberty to lay himself bare. “There is less of an externalized character to be responsible to,” says Bachmann, referring to the sardonic smart-ass who narrated the Archers’ music, or the gossiping storyteller at the helm of Crooked Fingers. “When I think about why I am compelled to put my own name on a thing as a proper title now, all of these various perspectives feel unnecessary.” Even in their exhilarating beauty, the nine original tracks on Eric Bachmann are direct challenges—to social injustice, to precarious love, and frequently to Southern hypocrisy.
Recorded in Asheville, NC, and mixed in Taiwan by Athens, GA, expat engineer Andy Baker, Eric Bachmann features musicians including Jeremy Wheatley, Matthew Nelson, Jon Rauhouse, Tracey Wolf, Samara Waller, Wade Rittenberry, and Liz Durrett, who wrote the track “Carolina.” “My wandering lifestyle has presented only one nugget of clarity in my life: that places do not offer a sense of home for me. People do,” says Bachmann of the ideas that guide him in this new era of his career. “I believe that much of the chronic loneliness and fear that plagues our species stems from the probability that whatever creative force set all of this into motion is indifferent to us.”