Carissa’s Wierd – They’ll Only Miss You When You Leave: Songs 1996-2003

January 01, 1970

(Hardly
Art)

 

www.hardlyart.com

 

 

Retrospective
compilations are lazy, and retrospective compilations released in advance of a
reissue campaign are lazy and a bit
of a cash-grab. But, wow, They’ll Only
Miss You When You Leave
is a pretty fantastic bit of lazy cash-grabbing.
Largely ignored during their time together, the Seattle band is best-known now as the
predecessor to Band of Horses, Grand Archives, and Sera Cahoone’s solo career.
Without getting too deep into the tangled web of shared members, it suffices to
say that the later period of Carissa’s Weird had considerable overlap with the
genesis of Band of Horses, Grand Archives was the band that CW leader Mat
Brooke founded after splitting from BOH, and Cahoone played drums for both CW
and BOH.

 

 

Still,
it’s important to note that Band of Horses completists poking around They’ll Only Miss You looking for
archaeological clues will be sorely disappointed. Carissa’s Wierd was very much
the baby of Mat Brooke and Jenn Ghetto, and the downcast drama of the 16 songs
here was pretty unique at the time, and even a decade later, sounds remarkably
singular. There are tinges of twang that make their way into a number of cuts
here (“The Color That Your Eyes Changed With The Color Of Your Hair” is
particularly tumbleweed-y), but the driving force is the interplay between
gentle, spacious arrangements, Brooke’s soulful whisper of a voice, and Ghetto’s
angelic harmonies. Carissa’s Wierd runs a full three or four gears more slowly
than either Grand Archives or Band of Horses, with a sound that’s much more
closely aligned with what Low stopped doing right around the same time. Though certainly not slowcore in the strict
sense, the harmonic interplay and glacial spaciousness of tracks like “You
Should Be Hated Here” and “Phantom Fireworks” is definitely reminiscent of
Low’s first few albums.

 

 

This
compilation, of course, covers a pretty long stretch of time, and the seven
years of material here represent three albums worth of material. Hardly Art
will be reissuing those three albums later this year on vinyl, and each of them
– especially the devastatingly epic Songs
About Leaving
–  deserves to be appreciated
on its own merits. Yet the label and band have done a remarkable job at
threading those years of material into a cohesive and beautiful statement with
this compilation, one that functions both as a perfect introduction and a
surprisingly effective standalone album.

 

 

DOWNLOAD: “Die,” “Brooke Daniels’ Tiny
Broken Fingers” JASON FERGUSON

 

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