The cover for Eric Anders and Mark O’Bitz’s acoustic adult alternative indie rock album, ‘Stuck Inside.’

Artists: Eric Anders: Vocals; and Mark O’Bitz: Guitars, piano and keys; Mike Butler: Guitars, bass and eys; Jenn Grinels: Backing vocals; Matt Lynott and John O’Reilly Jr.: Drums

Album: ‘Stuck Inside;’ Release date: November 13, 2021; All songs written by Anders and O’Bitz; Produced and Mixed by Butler; Mastered by Jamal Ruhe

Crafting sentimental songs that equally challenge and gratify listeners isn’t always an easy and natural process for musicians. But singer-songwriter Eric Anders and his longtime collaborator, guitarist-composer Mark O’Bitz, powerfully created astonishingly emotional and relatable tunes on their newly released adult alternative album as a duo, ‘Stuck Inside.’ The 11-track acoustic indie rock record features meaningful lyrics that explore the reasoning why people have felt stuck inside themselves over the past few years, particularly during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anders and O’Bitz have been releasing a prolific stream of new music, and showcasing their ever-expanding depth of emotion and conceptual impact, since they unveiled their debut LP as a duo, ‘Of All These Things,’ in 2018. ‘Stuck Inside’ is the third and final daring, bold album in their multiple-song collection, ‘Music in the Time of Coronavirus.’ All of the tracks for the collection were written and recorded remotely during the pandemic, and represent the musicians’ strong adaptability to any situation they find themselves in.

The duo’s latest record begins with the 1990s indie rock influenced anthem, ‘Morton’s Pillory Plea.’ Driven by a commanding, slow snare drum and powerful piano chords, Anders appeals to the person he’s with to be honest in their intentions for their relationship in melancholic, heartbreaking vocals. The tune is the singer’s powerful exploration into the process of seeking truth in humanity, particularly of the person he loves.

‘Morton’s Pillory Plea’ then delves into ‘Stuck Inside’s sophomore track, ‘This Bird Don’t Fly,’ which continues the collection’s classic ’90s rock vibe on its simple piano arpeggios, single keys and Anders’ soulful, vulnerable vocals. The musicians maintain their more dramatic tones as they reflect on the events in their past. Anders soulfully admits that it’s difficult to keep hope for the future alive without changing the memories of some elements of the past. Despite the hopes he has about improving his future, the singer adds that he doesn’t feel as though he can completely fly away from the circumstances that have held him down.

Another noteworthy entry on the LP is its title track, ‘Stuck Inside,’ which is one of the best, stand-out entries on the musicians’ latest collection. Driven by slow, mellow strumming on O’Bitz’s acoustic guitar, Anders croons at-times bleak but overall realistic, relatable lyrics. The song chronicle how he hears the trials and tribulations of his neighbors’ relationships during a time of crisis. Anders reveals that as he hears them talk about their relationships, he’s become broken by feelings of self doubt while being stuck inside during turbulent medial and political times. As a result, he’s eager to gain his full life back, and not live vicariously through other people’s lives anymore.

‘Stuck Inside’ begins to wind down with another one of its best entries, ‘Holdin’ Our Own,’ which is driven by stellar piano chords and a solid beat. The penultimate entry is one of the album’s most commercial tunes, as it’s driven by a wonderfully uplifting chorus. In heartfelt vocals, Anders croons about how a setting that was comfortable for just him to live in has become too confining to hold both him and the person he loves. He admits that while their bond can no longer sustain being restricted by a smaller physical environment, discovering that the person he loves couldn’t stay true to their relationship was a painful experience that will always hurt him.

‘Stuck Inside’ ends with another socially conscious, noteworthy entry,’Small World Abide,’ as the musicians try to create a long lasting, positive outlook for their futures. Driven by their signature classic rock drums and guitar, Anders questions why humanity has contributed to natural and manmade disasters that no one can hide from. The singer notes that everyone needs to work together to stop those disasters from continuing, and make the world a better place.

Crafting sentimental tracks that equally challenge and gratify listeners isn’t always an easy and natural process for musicians. But Anders and O’Bitz stunningly created astonishingly emotional and relatable sons on their newly released adult alternative record. ‘Sirens Go By’ features meaningful and soulful lyrics and instrumentation that prove the two musicians are sincere in their determination to find their place in the world.

For more information on Anders and O’Bitz, visit the duo’s official website.

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By Karen Benardello

As a graduate of LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic, Karen Benardello serves as ShockYa's Senior Movies & Television Editor. Her duties include interviewing filmmakers and musicians, and scribing movie, television and music reviews and news articles. As a New York City-area based journalist, she's a member of the guilds, New York Film Critics Online and the Women Film Critics Circle.

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