The cover of the Grand Archives' self-titled debut album is a detail photo of a piano. The first track of the CD, "Torn Blue Foam Couch," features piano prominently, sounding like Pachelbel's "Canon," which blends into some breathy vocals before that's eclipsed by an incessant guitar strumming. The second song, "Miniature Birds," opens with whistling and harmonica, reminiscent of Donovan's happy-go-lucky approach to music back in the '60s.
Grand Archives offers much of that in their music: They are a quintet that puts out classical keyboards, pop harmonies, aggressive instrumentation and good, old-fashioned fun. The band's frontman, Mat Brooke (formerly of Band of Horses and Carissa's Wierd) wrote most of the songs on the debut CD and plays guitar, harmonica and sings lead vocals as well.
In addition to singing, Brooke constructs lyrics that may give listeners pause. On "Index Moon" he sings, "The index moon was red / I was thinking about a friend / Train whistle's blowing / echoing out a past / splintered wood and ash / the bells were all ringing out loud."
The talented quintet is joined by Jay Kardong and Sera Cahoone for a couple songs. Kardong is an Idaho native who grew up in Moscow with Josh Ritter. Kardong works wonders on the pedal steel and Cahoone adds her beautiful vocals to a couple songs. All in all, the CD is an enjoyable package.
Grand Archives with Sera Cahoone, May 29, $8 advance. Neurolux, 111 N. 11th, 208-343-0886.