I think Sub Pop must have a trademark on this sound. Grand Archives, like another newer Sub Pop band, Fleet Foxes share a great deal of similarities to older Sub Pop bands like Band Of Horses and The Shins. Once you find something that works, you might as well stick with it, right? On to the music, you have to admire a musician who leaves a successful band to start his own musical journey. From the ashes of Carissa’s Wierd, Mat Brooke and Ben Bridwell formed Band of Horses. When it became apparent that Band Of Horses was going to be primarily Bridwell’s songwriting vehicle, Brooke left to explore his own path. Enter Grand Archives.
Grand Archives breezes by with ten songs of warm, intimate indie pop. Grand Archives are certainly mining a lighter territory than Bridwell and Band Of Horses. Because of that soft rock characteristic, it sounds as if the band is barely breaking a sweat. Besides the great album opener, “Torn Blue Foam Couch,” the haunting “Sleepdriving” and the misstep into melodrama that is “The Crime Window,” the album has a tendency to just float by unnoticed. Sure, it all sounds natural and even likable but it also fails to leave much of a lasting impression.
I find it all kind of ironic that Bridwell and Brooke couldn’t bare to share songwriting duties. Cause there are a huge amount of similarities between both bands and you have to wonder what the duo might have been capable of if they had stayed together. But, I guess that is neither here nor there at this point. Both have created their own strong entities. There is no doubt that Bridwell has found his niche with Band Of Horses. I expect Brooke and Grand Archives to do the same in the future. Til then though, The Grand Archives is just a pleasant record, nothing more and nothing less.
RIYL: The Shins, Band Of Horses, Fleet Foxes
Torn Blue Foam Couch