Not one to offer up much in the way of new tricks, Grand Archives' Mat Brooke instead maintains a remarkable level of quality control.
A veteran of both the cult-favorite Carissa's Wierd and the quickly ascendant Band of Horses, the Seattle singer-guitarist sounds content to remain firmly planted at the easy-listening end of the indie-rock spectrum.
Grand Archives' second record, Keep in Mind Frankenstein, returns with the same familiar pastoral sound: delicate harmonies, shimmering electric guitars and gently strummed acoustics.
The band went back to the same producer, Ben Kersten, to create the same comfortable sound found on the group's 2008 debut. While the album's weaker songs fade too softly into the background, the differences here are the subtleties, and taken together, they add up to a stronger effort.
Lyrics like "someday I will come back and burn it all down"—from album opener "Topsy's Revenge"—have never sounded so pretty, backed by an acoustic guitar, as well as touches of cello and accordion.
"Oslo Novelist" pairs the "come tomorrow, this will all be gone" chorus with a wistful pedal steel guitar, while Brooke's former Carissa's Wierd bandmates Jenn Ghetto and Sera Cahoone lend haunting backup vocals to "Siren Echo Valley (Part 1)."
"Dig That Crazy Grave" is the album's highlight, the catchiest song Grand Archives has recorded yet.
Grand Archives perform with S at 9:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 17, at Plush, 340 E. Sixth St. $10 advance; $12 day of; 798-1298.