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

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

For most bands unjustly ignored while they were active, hindsight can be a boon and a bitch. That disconnect is definitely the case with Carissa’s Wierd, the defunct Seattle outfit whose catalog is bittersweetly sampled in They’ll Only Miss You When You Leave. Three Sub Pop acts—Band Of Horses, Grand Archives, and Sera Cahoone—sprang from Carissa’s ashes, but the band’s vast-yet-muted palette of alt-country grit, post-rock sprawl, and chamber-folk sophistication was either too subtle or too humble to grab a wider audience. Hushed as it is, though, it’s easy to see where more bombastic groups like Modest Mouse—with whom Carissa toured—and even Arcade Fire might be indebted to its off-kilter, symphonic alchemy. Comprising highlights from the group’s three overlooked full-lengths, They’ll Only Miss You is a flawless catalog of flaws, from the trembling, heartsick plea of “Low Budget Slow Motion Soundtrack” to the seesawing seasickness of “Phantom Fireworks.” Whether intended as such, the disc’s eponymous closer serves as an epitaph for the band itself; amid dribbled piano and gently unspooled strings, the group’s nucleus of Jenn Ghetto and Mat Brooke whispers, “The storm will slowly close in on me when it’s time to leave” in a harmony that’s absolutely ghostlike. Shaky, fractured, and emotionally ass-whupping, They’ll Only Miss You hurts most when it’s over.

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