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Grandaddy - Sumday


Review: Jack Foley

GRANDADDY frontman, Jason Lytle, recently admitted during an interview with XFM's Zoe Ball that the band felt a little burned out following their last album and tour - hence the reason why it has taken three years to deliver Sumday.

For their fans, however, the wait has been worth it, as the rewards are plenty.

Sumday marks an altogether more positive form of songwriting from the band, which really nails down the sun-drenched roots of their Californian home (they hail from Modesto), and arrives like a breezy, melodic Summer long-player, that is certain to feature among the year's best releases.

Kicking off with the brilliant first single, Now It's On, which captures the brighter outlook of the band in lyrics such as 'I got not reason to be weathered and withery, like in the season of the old me', the album then proceeds to deliver a laidback journey through some of the best space-rock since last year's equally sumblime Flaming Lips album.

Indeed, comparisons with the Lips aren't misplaced, as the two bands possess a similar approach to songwriting - dreamy lyrics, soft, subdued vocals and an equally lazy, yet feelgood, guitar base.

That said, it is important to remember that Grandaddy came first and are merely cementing a reputation in fine style.

Hence, other notable tracks include the forthcoming single, El Caminos In The West (said to be backed by a brilliantly funny video), which finds the band feeling a long way from home (possibly evoking memories of how they felt after the last tour), while still managing to remain packed with the band's trademark lush lullabies and sunshine melodies.

Grandaddy may not always be tackling happy subject matter, but at least the tracks themselves remain breezy affairs, seldom threatening to drag you down in the same way that the melancholic likes of Radiohead can.

Take, for instance, the tortured lyrics of the dreamy I'm On Standby, which further explore the relationship between science and nature, or the heartfelt lament of the piano-based Saddest Vacant Lot In All The World, which features the sorry breakdown of a relationship, tracks which could so easily become depressing still sound great to listen to, without ever becoming overbearing.

Perhaps it's because of Lytle's near-death experience, in which he was run over by a lorry after falling off the tour bus, that such deep issues are tackled, due to the fact that the singer is now more aware of his own mortality.

Yet Grandaddy have always flirted with darker material, while retaining that enviable ability to shed some light on the blackest of moods.

And when tracks such as the remarkably upbeat Stray Dog and the Chocolate Shake, or the epic, ELO-throwback, Final Push to the Sun, arrive, you quickly realise why your love of all things Grandaddy remains as strong as ever.

Masterful stuff.

Related review: Excerpts From The Diary of Todd Zilla EP

Track listing:
1. Now It's On
2. I'm On Standby
3. The Go In The Go-For-It
4. The Group Who Couldn't Say
5. Lost On Yer Merry Way
6. El Caminos In The West
7. Yeah Is What We Had
8. Saddest Vacant Lot In All The World
9. Stray Dog And The Chocolate Shake
10. O.K. With My Decay
11. The Warming Sun
12. The Final Push To The Sum

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