"The Grand Archives " by Grand Archives (2008)
Raiders of the Lost Archives. Why not throw Adam a bone.
When Mat Brooke abruptly left Ben Bridwell's side after Band of Horses' debut two years ago, it sounded the death knell for any hope of reincarnation for the late great 90's Indie act Carissa's Weird. Jenn Ghetto had gone off to form her own project S and Sera Cahoone had started her own solo career, but it seemed with Band of Horses that Brooke and Bridwell would continue to carry the Carissa torch. When Brooke departed BOH, he made no announcement of what his future held, but finally with Grand Archives we see what Brooke has been concealing up his crafty sleeve and I must say that the Grand Archives is equal to or better than any post-Carissa project.
Even though Grand Archives is a five-piece group, it's easy to tell on first listen that this is Brooke's baby, every bit as much as Band of Horses is Bridwell's. Brooke has a very smooth, easy on the ears voice that is somewhere between John Phillips from The Mama's and the Papa's and Graham Nash. Whether he's leading the group on the exuberant, almost soccer hooligan-esque "The Crime Window" or breaking our hearts on the melancholy "George Kaminski" Brooke seems comfortable all over the musical map. The whistling whimsy of "Miniature Birds" is a pure delight and The Concretes sounding "Swan Matches" finds Brooke and special guest Jenn Ghetto doing some beautiful harmonizing together that reminds us as to why Carissa's Weird were so great in the first place. A warm and surprising record that never overstays its welcome even after frequent spins, The Grand Archives will easily go down as one of the best records that 2008 has to offer.
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