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    16. Eric Bachmann and Eric Johnson—Archers Of Loaf

    The division of guitar duties in Chapel Hill's Archers Of Loaf looks pretty standard on paper; one Eric plays rhythm, the other lead. Singer, guitarist Eric Bachmann anchors his songs with alternately trudging and barreling chords while Eric Johnson fingers stay in the upper register of the fretboard the entire song, but not because he’s slathering everything with Claptonesque leads. Johnson uses the guitar the way a lot of people use keyboards; finding phrases and triads for each passage of a song that keep the listener hooked—this little trick is central to the band’s sound. Over four albums for Merge the formula evolved—the two would circle each other a bit more slowly or wander off at times (see Vee Vee opener “Step Into The Light”)—but the basic idea remained.