Grandaddy : Sumday

Grandaddy's step back into reality is a timely one

Grandaddy‘s last album, 2000’s much-feted ‘The Sophtware Slump’, was based almost wholly around a concern that modern technological insanity was endangering the basic principle of human interaction. Clearly this turn-of-the-millennium angst struck a chord when allied to the band’s trademark, countrified electronica; the record even managed to spawn a UK Top 40 hit (‘The Crystal Lake’) and elevated the Californians into the upper echelons of Cosmic Americana cool alongside more mainstream peers like The Flaming Lips.

In spite of the success achieved by its high concept predecessor, the songs on ‘Sumday’ are not united by any specific theme. While they still sound pretty much like Neil Young if he’d heard an Aphex Twin record, the anxieties that ‘…Slump’ articulated have been replaced by frontman Jason Lytle’s desire to address more simple matters – ruminating on love (‘Yeah Is What We Had’ ), nature (‘The Group Who Couldn’t Say’) and his own creative torpor (‘The Go In The Go For It’), looking inside himself to forge a new path for the group. He’s even calmly accepting of his ultimate fate – on the epic drone of ‘OK With My Decay’ he admits, in that oddly affecting reedy whine of his, “I have no choice/I have no voice/I have no say/so I rejoice”. It’s the here and now that’s important – as Lytle affirms on the powerpop rush of lead single and LP opener ‘Now It’s On’, “I wouldn’t trade my place/I got no reason to be/weathered and withering/Like in the season of the old me”.

Grandaddy‘s step back into reality is a timely one – after the dramatic world events of the past few years, they’ve clearly decided that it would be churlish to worry about our roles in a future that seems increasingly uncertain. Ironically, by adopting this approach, the band have tapped into a global feeling much in the same way as they did on their last record. These may be trying times all round, but Grandaddy are helping us face the music.

Alan Woodhouse