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Shmat's Reviews
For more reviews, please visit Palebear which is where all future Shmat reviews will appear (as of March 2006).

Sumday (CD)

I actually had a choice this week whether to write about the latest offering from Grandaddy or Radiohead's "Hail to the Thief". Let's see, Radiohead or Grandaddy... well, this week I went with the latter because it might take a couple of days or weeks (as usual) to wrap my review thinking cap around Thom Yorke and Co's latest offering.

The same is not exactly true for Sumday, which is somewhat astonishing. Being a huge Grandaddy fan myself (although i still tend to spell their name with 4 "d"s total), I'd been looking forward to this album for quite some time now. No, Jason Lytle has not lost one iota of his formidable songwriting/recording talent in the making of Sumday, Grandaddy's third proper CD. That much should be said right away. The opening track, "Now It's On", with its uber-catchy melodies and well-weathered wordplay threatens to dethrone The Sophtware Slump's "Crystal Lake" as the de facto Grandaddy track that college radio stations blast on repeat throughout the day. "I'm On Standby", "The Go In The Go-For-It", "Lost On Your Merry Way", and "El Caminos In The West" are beautifully constructed to be highly compact rockers with Lytle's crooked but affable falsetto leading the charge forward. In short, with nary a bum track on it, this album should easily rule the indie charts this summer.

But this is not what I've come to expect of Grandaddy. Where have the googly-eyed synth wankings of "A.M. 180" or the forest technology, opera-like drama of "Broken Household Appliance National Forest" gone? Indeed, it's not until the 8th track, which is "Saddest Vacant Lot In The World", that we are treated to any semblance of the rough - and - tumble dynamics that are typical of their earlier albums. The descending keyboard lines and astro mumblings of the next song, "Stray Dog and The Chocolate Shake", brought an immediate smile to my face. This is the off-kilter sequencing that I once knew. I had actually came to crave the uneven instrumental barfings that peppered Under The Western Freeway, or even the long drawn out intros that presaged the more standard rock - out choruses. Contrast. That's what seems to be missing in the first half of this album. The old adage: To those who wait, come the great spoils of harmony.

But now, no longer is everything beautiful far away, but rather a hop, cd-skip and jump for those with twitchy hook-loving fingers. Ay, there's the rub, for such an awesome band deserves to have their stuff played non-stop on every radio station. And whether or not (doubtfully, knowing their indie virtue) they acquiesced when told to put all the "good" songs at the beginning, I still believe this is a great album. (I forgot to mention the touching little space-dirge that ends the album "The Final Push To The Sun" which is one of the best songs on the album). Like Beck, who kind of shocked people with his latest album, if Grandaddy are wanting a sea change I'm just going to go along for the ride, whether through smooth or choppy seas.

P.S. Sumday is also an extended CD, with awesome videos for "Crystal Lake", Now It's On" and "Nacher Anthem", the latter which is a track not on the album.

- review by BY (6.16.03)        

V2 Music
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