When group members split to form separate projects, the results frequently add up to less than the original sum — but not in the case of Mat Brooke and Ben Bridwell. The pair teamed in Carissa's Wierd, a sometimes entertaining but often erratic Seattle act, before joining forces again in a sturdier outfit, Band of Horses. Then in 2006, Brooke bid Bridwell goodbye, resurfacing as the main factotum in Grand Archives. The self-titled Sub Pop debut by Brooke's outfit, joined on this bill by Roger, Roll and Three Cheers Faraday, is a gorgeous collection of swelling melodies and nakedly earnest warbling that tends toward the upbeat even when the lyrics seem dour. As for Band of Horses, its latest CD, 2007's Cease to Begin, may not be quite as strong as the recordings to which Brooke contributed, but it's no washout, either — and both combos are more memorable than Carissa's Wierd. Such a solution should please music lovers and mathematicians alike.
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