"You Are My Home" from SKATES & RAYS, celebrating its ten-year anniversary this in 2019, would have been been the first album from THE ARMOIRES if not for an accident of chronology: Rex, Christina and Larysa had not yet met! The core band here is otherwise the same as the modern Armoires: Broome on guitar, Clifford Ulrich on bass and harmonica, and Derek Hanna on drums (with all three singing). It was Rex's first go at fronting a band doing his own songs, along with three fine contributions from Cliff (one of which, "I'm Going To Miss Her", was to become a Big Stir Digital Single under Cliff's own name).
The band came across as a Dylan-meets-The Jam kind of affair, with Crazy Horse, The Church and Tom Verlaine as key touchstones to their sound. It was a bit too late for the heyday of college rock jangle and clearly too early for the Big Stir stable, but the ingredients are there and a number of the tunes would be reworked with Christina's voice and Larysa's viola in mind. This, then, is the bare bones of what was to be and features a few since-untouched gems: Cliff's lovely ballad "June Morning", Broome's '60s garage stomper "Mule" with its more-relevant-than every lyrics, and the spooky narrative "Ghosts of Atlantis" to cite a few.
The songs: 1) Mule (Broome) 2) Doubtful Sound (Broome) - re-recorded by The Armoires for "Incidental Lightshow" 3) Anemone (Broome) - re-recorded by The Armoires for the forthcoming "Side Three" EP 4) Better Not Fight (Broome/Broome - long story) 5) Satellite Business (Broome) - re-recorded by The Armoires for the forthcoming "Zibaldone" LP 6) June Morning (Ulrich) 7) Fort Ashby (Broome) - re-recorded by The Armoires for "Incidental Lightshow" 8) Ghosts of Atlantis (Broome) 9) Dr. I'm Healthy (Ulrich) 10) Kristin's Blues (Broome) 11) County (Broome) 12) I'm Going to Miss Her (Ulrich) - released as a single from Clifford Ulrich in the Big Stir Digital Singles series