Grandaddy are quickly and quietly rising in the world
of indie rock. Rising from the less well-known, and under-appreciated,
Under The Western Freeway, they rocketed to what amounts
to success for an indie band with the release of The Sophtware
Slump and the subsequent breaking of the UK Top 40 with
its single "The Crystal Lake". It seems inevitable
that the Modesto, CA, based band, reaching this level of success
after ten years together, and having only released two full
length albums, two EPís, and a scattering of singles, would
release a compilation highlighting more obscure songs for
latecomerís to Grandaddyís art. Thus we have Concrete
Dunes, a collection of rarities, imports, previously unreleased,
and out of print tracks.
While compilations of this sort often feature little more
than live or reworked versions of album tracks, b-sides, and
songs that would be better left in the studioís master tape
collection, Grandaddy seems to have produced a fairly
consistent body of work that deserves to see the light of
day (the one downside being that 6 of the 15 tracks are taken
from the still available A Pretty Mess By This One Band).
Jason Lytle, often sounding like a warmer version
of Mercury Rev front man Jonathan Donahue backed
by a more mellow Flaming Lips ensemble, serenades us,
par usual, with his abstract, bizarre, yet somehow meaningful
lyrics: You didnít really die/although it seems as if you
did/why would you have to hide/and who stayed on with you
while you hid/through all those silent nights/that silence
sure can be real loud/louder than anything ("Why
Would I Want To Die"). "12-PAK-599" starts
off with our singer begging someone to take his keys because
he is, again, too drunk to drive home and tired of running
into trees and memories.
Grandaddy are masters at layering their music with little
extras: digital chirps, background angelic choruses, and other
keyboard effects. Their genius comes in that these extras
are not noticed immediately, only appreciated immediately.
Listen to the slower parts of "Wretched Songs" and
you will notice the immense amount of noise occurring in the
background. These tracks apparently gave Grandaddy the
training needed for their intricate and perfect use of these
types of effects on The Sophtware Slump. While not
all the tracks on this album are of the stellar quality and
production as those on Slump, they provide a wonderful
opportunity to view the band in its infancy. One can see where
Grandaddy got the shape of their jaw line and those
scars on their forehead.
"Away Birdies With Special Sounds" is nothing more
than a beautiful melody and a manís deep and melancholy voice
lamenting: I looked everywhere for them, but they gone/I
do not know why they have gone away/I do not want them to
go away/I woke up in the morning and they were gone/but I
do not want them to go away. This song could very easily
be re-titled "Away Grandaddy With Special Sounds".
I do not want them to go away.
ó Michael Trundle
- Why Would I Want To Die
- My Small Love
- Wretched Songs
- For The Dishwasher
- Sikh In A Baja VW Baja Bug
- Lava Kiss
- Gentle Spike Resort
- Away Birdies With Special Sounds
- Kim You Bore Me To Death
- Pre Merced
- Egg Hit And Jack Too
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