Grand Archives

Just as his former band (Band of Horses) endured countless comparisons to other groups—Built to Spill, My Morning Jacket and the Shins chief among them—Mat Brooke's Grand Archives will undoubtedly be likened to numerous other indie pop luminaries. On songs such as "Index Moon," he bears an uncanny vocal resemblance to A.C. Newman of the New Pornographers, while the intertwined male and female vocals of opening track "Torn Blue Foam Couch" bring to mind a folksier Raveonettes. "Breezy No Breezy" doesn't even need vocals to sound somewhat familiar, combining banjo, melodica and delay-laden keyboards into a spaced-out gypsy stew that wouldn't sound out of place on a Calexico record. Most songs here fill out the arrangements with three and four vocalists, somewhat making up for Brooke's less than distinctive lead vocals, but "The Crime Window" may take it a step too far, coming off something like the Polyphonic Spree covering Andrew W.K. as the whole band shouts along in unison. Fittingly, Grand Archives sounds best when the band sticks to the stripped-down elegance of Brooke's former work in Seattle mope folkers Carissa's Wierd, as on "George Kaminski," which combines a lilting, breathy vocal melody with tasteful slide work to lovely effect.


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