US - California - Full Moon 198 - 10/29/12
Dept. of Disappearance
After reforming Grandaddy for a tour this summer Jason Lytle returns with his second solo album, Dept. of Disappearance, following 2009's
Yours Truly, The Commuter. Which means I'm not counting the 'tail of' Yours Truly...,Merry X-mas 2009 from.... It's always good to hear from Jason Lytle.
Dept. of Disappearance sounds quite biographic, since Lytle sort of disappeared himself - moving from his hometown, home-state Modesto, California to the more rural Montana. Today he resides in Bozeman, MO, and I wonder if he lives by the city's motto: "The Most Livable Place"? Anyway, Lytle's new platter holds 13 new songs (one of them a short instrumental break called "Chopin Drives Truck To The Dump", where Lytle shows his piano skills, as well as his sense of humour), and most of them are (of course) trademark Lytle compositions. That said, I found Yours Truly... much livelier. Jason Lytle's always been writing emotional pop, but back in the Grandaddy days - especially on Grandaddy's 'magnum opus', The Sophtware Slump - there was a certain touch of glimmering grace and/or glittering grandeur. Lytle's of course 'head of the studio dept.', from where it's difficult to transit back to the world outside when working intensely and focused with your music. Hence the album's title.
When listening through the new album, some songs sound just like hearing Grandaddy, which isn't surprising as Grandaddy was Lytle's band (with the songs penned by him, and with his signature voice on top). Such as the title track, and "Matterhorn", plus "Get Up And Go". And probably a few others. One of the finest moments of the record is the ballad "Somewhere There's A Someone". A sad song about a lonesome soul looking for love. "Your Final Setting Sun" is something different, being an upbeat pop song. "Young Saints" is another favourite, along with the stripped down closer, "Elko in the Rain". The good songs aside, I feel that the album is too long, stretching for nearly an hour. Some songs should've been trimmed/edited, and I'm not too happy with all the electronic beats and sounds as well.
I'm not saying Dept. of Disappearance is bad. It's just a bit dull in parts. Or, some of the material is a bit predictable. That said, some tracks stand out, still proving Jason Lytle to be a potent song-writer.
Copyright © 2012 Håvard Oppøyen