Infinite Shuffle

April 25, 2010

25 – Grand Archives

Filed under: G, Seattle — assman41 @ 12:01 am

Considering the pedigree of its various members, it’s no surprise how strong and polished The Grand Archives’ sound is. Led by Mat Brooke, former guitarist and vocalist for Carissa’s Wierd and former guitarist for Band of Horses, this collection of Seattle musicians channels all the great indie-folk-pop harmonies that have been coming out of the Emerald City for years.

The quartet (formerly a five-piece) conjures up thoughts of such bands as Fleet Foxes, New Pornographers, Band of Horses, The Low Anthem, Son Volt and pretty much any band that relies on strong vocal harmonies and understated instrumentation.

The band’s self-titled debut, which dropped in 2008, opens strong with “Torn Blue Foam Couch”. Despite being comprised solely of men, the band gets plenty of vocal support from the ladies, including this first track, which sounds at times like something from the New Pornographers or Mates of State.

(Then again, I suppose any song with male/female harmonies probably shares that trait; but I digress.)

The whistling intro to the second track “Miniature Bird” totally reminded me of this year’s Simpsons-themed Super Bowl commercial, which had a whistling portion toward the end. And the sometimes-haunting vocals on the next track, “Swan Matches”, kinda reminded of The Low Anthem’s recent hitCharlie Darwin“.

But the song that really stood out to me was the album’s penultimate track, “The Crime Window”. Admittedly, it’s the one song on the album that sounds nothing like the rest, but it’s also the most fun track and probably the most radio-friendly.

Grand Archives – The Crime Window

The following year saw the departure of band member Ron Lewis (he joined The Shins) and also the release of the follow-up, Keep in Mind Frankenstein.

To the untrained ear, such as my own, the sophomore effort didn’t seem too different from its predecessor. But according to Brooke, it was “a little darker than the first album.”

The only thing that stood out to me was that things seemed a little more folky — closer to the sound of the Great Lake Swimmers.

The best track on the album was easily “Oslo Novelist”.

You can hear five songs on their MySpace page — which is how the band got noticed in the first place — or even download some free tracks at their record label page.


1 Comment »

  1. […] Grand Archives […]

    Pingback by Dispatches from Niger « My Tunes — August 2, 2010 @ 4:47 am

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