Release Date: Feb 19, 2008
Record label: Sub Pop
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Mat Brooke bowed out of Band of Horses in 2006, bringing his 11-year run with the various members of Carissa's Wierd to a close. Left to his own devices for the first time since 1995, Brooke replaced the crescendos and ringing guitars of Band of Horses with the sun-baked sounds of his follow-up project, Grand Archives. The new band is still indebted to the West Coast, but while BOH's Everything All the Time took its cues from Neil Young and Brian Wilson, Grand Archives tips a hat to David Crosby and the Mamas & the Papas.
I was upset when I found out that Mat Brooke had quit Band of Horses, though I didn't realize at the time how great an influence he had over the band's sound. Although I really enjoyed the subdued breathing of "I Go to the Barn Because I Like The" and "St. Augustine," not until listening to Band of Horses' second album, and now to Grand Archives, did I see that it wasn't Brooke who flew from the band, but Ben Bridwell and company who tore up from the roots and bought stock in the stratosphere.
Singer Mat Brooke, formerly of Band of Horses and Carissa's Wierd, embraces the sunlight so rare to his home base of Seattle, leading his merry quintet on a journey to the happy place with a peaceful, warm, and affecting debut. The affirming nature of this urban indie rock pastoral can be summed up with "George Kaminski," titled in honor of a Pennsylvania inmate who holds the Guinness World Record for most four-leaf clovers collected (72,927 from the grass of prison yards). Sings Brooke, "I'll leave these clovers buried in the ground for you to find next time around," lionizing Kaminski as a Johnny Appleseed of hope, a lovely metaphor for these trying times.