Baggage Room Music (label)
02 March 2016 (released)
28 April 2016
Captivating songwriter Eric Anders turns his career so far in to one seamless story.
The Bay Area songsmith has compiled the most notable works from his most prolific period, 2003-2006. Of the 4 albums Anders released in that short time, the compilation omits selections from the politically charged Songs For Wayward Days. The 2004 album was a reaction to the Bush Doctrine and the paranoid policies of that dark part of American history. The result is an compilation that feels like a cohesive, proper album. The songs lament missed chances, failed paths, complicated relationships and all the miles in between. Anders has assembled a myriad of talented and tasteful players to compliment his skillful songwriting.
'Big World Abide', the compilation's title track is a delicate classic. It shuffles with Elliot Smith resignation, though with more acceptance than frustration. Good and evil, black and white are mused about while a dreamy slide guitar sews them together. Things are out of your control and that's ok.
Anders striking reimagining of Violent Femmes classic 'Blister in the Sun' is an inspired turning on its ear of the bouncy alt-rock anthem. It takes a minute to register without the songs signature riff but Anders manages to shine a new light on this song we thought we'd known so well. He even managed to get the full blessing of Femmes songwriter, calling it “astounding” and appreciating the new version's altered lyrics. Anders' take is more Sunday morning hangover than Friday evening romp.
'Genocide and Justice' has tinges of politics left over from the aforementioned Songs For Wayward Days. “Genocide and justice/The mixture does not hold/Even if the victors say so/We keep saying it's so”. The Dylanesque chords are smoothed out by the serene instrumentation.
The California singer's thoughtful compositions can sum up a plethora of emotions which is why his songs have often been chosen to close out tv dramas. Songs you can get lost in when taking stock.
The dreamy production turns a collection of fairly well written acoustic ballads in to an ethereal, enthralling anthology.