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Grandaddy - Just Like The Fambly Cat

Grandaddy, Just Like The Fambly Cat

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

THE release of Grandaddy’s new album Just Like The Fambly Cat is something of a happy-sad occasion for fans of the Modesto based outfit.

While certainly welcome, this is their final album following the announcement that the band had parted company at the beginning of the year.

Written as a final goodbye to the Central Valley and, most specifically, to their home town of Modesto, the album is also being hailed as a final gift to a fanbase that has loved them every step of the way.

It’s fair to say, therefore, that Grandaddy fans will adore the grand opus that follows – an epic, sprawling long-player that pretty much recaptures all of the band’s brilliance, as well as some of their weirdness and excess.

The space-rock, psychedelia-tinged sound is present and correct at several stages, as is the more experimental side to the band.

Opening with the surreal What Happened, featuring an elegant piano melody sparsely played under the sample of a small child asking innocently, ‘what happened to the family cat?’, the album then bursts into life with the rock-driven Jeez Louise, an upbeat classic in the making that finds Jason’s vocals at their most achingly powerful.

The album changes pace again almost immediately with the poignant Summer… It’s Gone, which works as a suitable lament for Grandaddy fans. The track combines a lazy, hazy psychedelia with a space-rock vibe worthy of The Flaming Lips at their most serenely beautiful.

The remaining tracks are equally eclectic and every bit as exciting, serving to create a lasting memorial to a truly great American band.

Highlights include the shimmering Rear View Mirror with its layered guitar work and vocal effects, the supremely breezy and effortlessly cinematic Skateboarding Saves Me Twice (virtually an instrumental), and the edgy Elevate Myself, with its futuristic electronic flourishes and “I just wanna, I just wanna, elevate myself’ anthem-like chorus.

The latter, in particular, showcases Grandaddy’s ability to stop-start tracks with surprising touches, veering into different directions while laying down catchy hooks that are born out of the Californian sunshine vibe.

Final track, This Is How It Always Starts ends things on a suitably whimsical note with the sort of song title that’s deliberately designed to provoke some thought tinged with irony. The track itself offers a suitable mix of melancholy and hope, dropping in some enchanting melodies, more pensive lyrics and a heavenly-sounding chorus to see the track out.

It’s almost a fitting finale – although there’s a hidden track to prolong the farewells.

As the concluding chapter of the Grandaddy story, Jason and co have delivered a truly captivating listen – one that leaves fans with a fitting reminder of what made them so great in the first place.

So long then, Grandaddy, it’s been wonderful knowing you – and thanks for the excellent parting gift.

Track listing:

  1. What Happened
  2. Jeez Louise
  3. Summer It’s Gone
  4. Oxygen/Aux Send
  5. Rear View Mirror
  6. Animal World
  7. Skateboarding Saves Me Twice
  8. Where I’m Anymore
  9. 50%
  10. Guide Down Denied
  11. Elevate Myself
  12. Campershell Dreams
  13. Disconnecty
  14. This Is How It Always Starts