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  Flood the Tanks 
Artist: Iain Archer
Label: Bright Star Recrding

His first for almost 8 years, it is almost like a debut...and Stocki finds the maturity of this work even more impressive than
anything that has gone before... 

Flood the Tanks sees Bangorís Iain Archer on the cusp of fulfilling his potential or maybe rather seeing his potential acknowledged. It has been nearly a decade since Radio 1 records of the week hinted at big things but listening to this much more mature work ten years on we can all be thankful that he didnít get pushed down a pop star cover boy career. Instead Archer hid away partly with and partly without choice, discovered himself and how to put his prestigious talents in one focused direction. Not that he wasnít dabbling having contributed to albums by Jacob Golden and Reindeer Section whose driving force Gary Lightbody also enticed him as a deputy on the Snow Patrol beat touring as their extra guitarist and co-writer of the top 5 hit Run.

But back to Archer and over the past three years he has done what he is best at; spending time in his bedroom with his own little studio. Songs have been written, discarded, rewritten and rearranged before the most careful and drawn out production job has conjured an album that takes the left field experimentation of a Bright Eyes and in best Archer tradition adds this profound accessibility to veer in an Elliot Smith direction and pushes him out towards Badly Drawn Boy and Damien Rice as the best of what our songwriters are doing right now. He has spoken in interviews about wanting top dismantle the song and in doing so he builds up the intrigue. Where he used to prove himself the most finger dancing of guitarists he has learned to rein in his genius to discover riffs and grooves that on repeated listening very gently nocks (sorry for the archer pun!) an indentation in the aural side of your brain. "Boy, Boy, Boy," "Summer Jets," and "I Wasnít DrinkingÖ" are as good as anything on your radio playlists and "Mirror Ball Moon" has a luscious 2 A.M. warmth and satisfied weariness. The instrumentation is done so tenderly; beauty uncovered so delicately for fear of damaging the purity of the song. 


Steve Stockman  5/18/2004

Steve Stockman is the Presbyterian Chaplain at Queens University, Belfast, Ireland, where he lives in community with 88 students. He has just finished a book on U2, Walk On; The Spiritual Journey of U2, is the poetic half of Stevenson and Samuel who have just released their debut album Gracenotes, and he has a weekly radio show on BBC Radio Ulster (listen anytime of day or night @ He has his own web page--Rhythms of Redemption at He also tries to spend some time with his wife Janice and daughters Caitlin and Jasmine. 



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