Saddle Creek | Eric Bachmann | Reviews


To The Races

Author: Paul Maldonado
12/15/2006 | Albuquerque Tribune | | Album Review
After founding Archers Of Loaf in the '90s and Crooked Fingers this millennium, Bachmann sheds the band dynamic for the singer/songwriter route. And the results are achingly beautiful.

Bachmann wrote this batch of songs in June and July 2005 while he was voluntarily living in the back of his van. He recorded the disc last December in a hotel room in North Carolina's Outer Banks. While descriptive and emotive, the songs are unadorned, spare and stark; it's usually just Bachmann on vocals, guitar and the occasional piano.

Female backing vocals and a violin (courtesy of DeVotchKa's Tom Hagerman) add depth and melancholy, especially on "Home," a tune about isolation/desolation with the refrain: "All those stars are friends of mine." If you didn't know the back story, you might think it was about vapid celebrity and/or vacuous famous acquaintances.

When he sings, Bachmann has a nasal twang reminiscent of Dylan's (the celebration of life "Man O' War" and "Carrboro Woman," where he makes generous use of the harmonica), and he can be just as vindictive ("Liars And Thieves"). The two outstanding cuts are "To The Races," with its Gypsy violin racing to a climax, and the raucous "Genie, Genie," a song of redemption where, after describing his trials and tribulations, his addictions and sins, he goes out repeating: "Give me something; I'm looking for something."

Eric Bachmann is on a short tour - eight shows in 10 days; Albuquerque is his last date - opening for DeVotchKa. The twin bill stops Tuesday at Pulse, 4100 Central Ave. S.E. Tickets are $8 in advance at Natural Sound and Tickets at Virtuous; $10 at the door. 8 p.m. 21 and over. Call 255-3334 or 764-8887.
To The Races

To The Races

CD / MP3