Outside of the Pacific Northwest, Carissa’s Wierd are probably best known as the group that spawned Band of Horses. Mat Brooke, Jenn Ghetto, and their rotating lineup of backup musicians were once the toast of Seattle, though, celebrated for their sparse indie rock sound and unpredictable stage shows. Indie rock has changed quite a bit since the band’s heyday -- it’s become louder, harder, and more indebted to the crowded dancefloor than the quiet bedroom -- but the legacy of Carissa’s Wierd still burns brightly in Seattle, prompting the local label Hardly Art to issue this compilation of the band’s work. They'll Only Miss You When You Leave: Songs 1996-2003 serves several purposes: it cobbles together a number of hushed, quietly orchestral songs that have long since gone out of print; it honors a band that never quite received the recognition it deserved; and it introduces the rest of the country to one of Seattle’s best-kept secrets. With tracks taken from all three of the band’s full-length albums (as well as previously released compilations like I Before E and Scrap Book), this album covers a lot of ground. Carissa’s Wierd were a consistent band, though -- despite their rotating lineup, Brooke and Ghetto always seemed to play their songs with whispered energy, as though they were afraid of waking the neighbors -- and They'll Only Miss You When You Leave is surprisingly cohesive as a result.
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AllMusic Review by Andrew Leahey