Review by: Gimpleg
The 1984 Draft is described as a 1990s influenced indie folk/ rock band from Dayton, Ohio. Having grown up in the 1990s in Dayton, Ohio, from the same suburbs as members of this band (although I don’t know any of them) I can hear and feel the connection. They sound like the 1990s felt in small towns in central Ohio. While the production and mastering on the album is very clean, it still has the feel of a band performing at a local bar in front of a couple dozen loyal fans. This music is intimate and speaks directly to you.
The music never blows you away, it’s not that kind of music. But it does make me feel comfortable. It makes me feel at home. The topics are relatable. There are no love songs or breakup songs. The album is about, well, being a person. More specifically, the songs are about getting older, living in the Midwest, and trying to keep your life together.
The folksy vocals feel relatable as Joe Anderl sings about the monotony and disillusionment of the day to day work, being disenfranchised by a system that keeps you from getting ahead. He sings about being existentially tired of life and stretched too thin. Multiple songs relate to going to church on Sunday, getting older and wanting to be a good parent, and being exhausted as a father. He sings about arguing on social media as friends turn to hate, to racism, to sexism, and drawing the line and cutting people from his life. His kids getting ready to graduate and being an aging musician in an industry that doesn’t respect older musicians, how we mistake our youth for being the best part of our life. He sings about the lost passage of time, having lost a loved one, and not being ready to die. By the end of the album, you know exactly who Joe Anderl is.
My favorite lyric from the album “let the boys be girls and the girls be boys, and live in perfect harmony”, the song ends with “let’s be honest to a fault and share a beer”. It’s comforting seeing a middle aged Midwest father of three boys remind us all that is just trying to do his best, and wants everyone else to have the ability to be and do our best.
Yes, the 1984 Draft feels like it’s a small town bar band, but I would love to visit that small town bar and pull up a chair.