July 22, 2024

Grandaddy – ‘Sumday’ – V2

Jason Lytle was adopted by fans (count me in) of 2000’s ‘The Sophtware Slump’ as the bard-champion of the flesh-and-blood resistance to the ever-encroaching mechs n techs. At the time, I thought this was a bit hyperbolic – that album was actually far more interesting than that summary implies – but, for ‘Sumday’ it’s as if he’s decided that, if that’s what they want, that’s what they’ll get, even if he doesn’t quite get it himself.
So here’s the result – the soundtrack to The Terminator v The Tellytubbies.
Bland? Nah, it’s good enough, if you don’t mind sitting through half-an-hour (7 tracks!) of listening to someone chew gum before finally lifting himself off the couch and remembering that there’s work to be done. I mean, there’s actually more interest in the quirky Jason-as-producer tinkerings with the preludes and the postludes than in the songs themselves. Again and again – there’s the germ of an interesting musical idea, then – ‘duff-ta duff-duff-ta’ – in comes that oh-so-familiar snare-kick-hi-hat rocker riff that just – never – changes.
But ‘Saddest Vacant Lot in All the World’ – when we finally get to it – meanders along to a rambling, poignant, utterly uncool Rogers & Hart-type solo piano until it gets to the genius moment of the album (actually, this might just be the single best couplet ever):
‘…and he’s so drunk he’s passed out in a Datsun
that’s parked out in the hot sun…’
That is so perfect.
(I guess you had to be there)
A Datsun!
Anyway, it’s a great song.
‘OK with my decay’ that follows is more quirky robotics stuff, and the final two tracks are nicely maudlin. But frankly (can you tell?) I’m disappointed.
I find it vaguely apposite that ‘Sumday’ should have been released in the same week that the first announcements came out of Brian Wilson’s intention to perform the long-lost Beach Boys’ ‘Smile’ sometime next year. What’s exciting about Grandaddy (when they get round to remembering it) is that they found something fresh in that over-mined seam of seventies California surf-stuff – and are eminently capable of boldly going with it to wherever their fancy takes them.
Maybe next time.