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CRITIC'S CHOICE

Archers of Loaf, with the Flaming Lips and Beatnik Film Stars, Tuesday, May 2, at the Ogden Theatre, seem to be at their best when they're beating the crap out of poor, defenseless guitar-pop melodies. The band's 1993 debut, Icky Mettle (on Alias Records), kicked and spit with so much jangly, obstreperous glee that it could have been mistaken for an indie supergroup fronted by Black Francis, J Mascis and the late Bob Stinson. And this year's Alias release, Vee Vee, finds the Archers in even finer, sloppier form. From the stringy guitar spurts of "Step Into the Light" to the bawdy "Underachievers March and Fight Song," Vee Vee manages to touch on all the qualities that made Mettle such a triumph, even if Archers vocalist Eric Bachmann sounds a little hoarser and a bit more surly this go-around. Must be all the beer and cigarettes. Or maybe he's just having a better time.


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