Reason in Decline, Archers of Loaf's first studio album since the 1998 release of White Trash Heroes, is no nostalgic, low-impact reboot. When they emerged from North Carolina's '90s indie-punk incubator, the Archers' hurtling, sly, gloriously dissonant roar was a mythologized touchstone of slacker-era refusal. But this new LP is an entirely different noise. In fact, it's a startling revelation. Guitarists Eric Bachmann and Eric Johnson, once headstrong smartasses inciting a series of artful pileups on the band's four studio albums and EP, are now a fluidly complementary, sonically advanced unit. Notably, Johnson's signature trebly lines peal clearly above the din instead of struggling to be heard. Today, singer-songwriter Bachmann's lyrics balance righteous wrath with a complex tangle of adult perspective. He still spits bile, but it's less likely to concern scene politics, music trends, or shady record labels thwarting the dreams of a young rock band. Bachmann puts it bluntly: "What I really think about going back to the Archers and doing a new record is that the three other members of this band are awesome. It's not about responding to the past or whatever our bullshit legacy is. I just wanted to work with these guys because I knew the chemistry we had and that we still have. I knew that was rare."