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coverpic flag US - California - Full Moon 142 - 04/20/08

Just Like The Fambly Cassette

Sadly enough Jason Lytle decided to dissolve his Grandaddy some 2 years ago, after a bumpy ride. With ups and downs, raving critics, minor hits, sweaty tours, and a slim band bank account. However, they left a trail of nice records, including 4 studio albums, plus a number of compilations, EPs, singles, cassette tapes, etc -- two of them modern classics: Under the Western Freeway and (especially) The Sophtware Slump. Their 3rd album proper, Sumday, was a somewhat disappointing follow up to its brilliant predecessor. And then, Just Like the Fambly Cat, the swan song. Which was more than decent, but not totally blasting.

So, here's the Fambly Demos Cassette a.k.a. Just Like The Fambly Cassette made available, so that fans and curious minds can check out the works in its making. Included are also some extra tracks. The Fambly Demos Cassette are mere sketches, and maybe not interesting for others than the core fans. What's making you keeping a sharp focus are the stripped and naked songs, which makes it possible to get more under the skin of Jason Lytle. At least under the skin of his songs, and really stand 'face-to-face' with his song-writing. When listening to the demos, AND listening to the finished album, I also focus more on the lyrics. It strikes me, again, how clever Lytle are with words. How good he's projecting 'emptiness' and 'sadness', the more or less meaningful things in life. Either if it's the smaller details or the bigger questions. Mainly the slack, smaller, I guess. And, in a most simple way - no big words or clichés. As he sings in "Rear View Mirror": "... don't wanna live life looking through a rear view window...". With "Elevate Myself" it's quite clear Lytle just wanna write songs, but not necessarily for an ignorant (or small - or both) audience. Or totally sell out. Or be totally narrow. Or, is it all just a laugh, too make neat lyrics...: "I don't wanna work all night and day on writing songs that make the young girls cry, or playing little solos on the keyboard so the kids will ask me how and when, I just wanna elevate myself...".

What strikes me is the line of indeed good songs on the album, which makes the ...Fambly Cat... not as good, but not very far from being as good as The Sophtware Slump. The closing "This Is How It Always Starts" is simply amazing. The 4 xtra tracks are interesting, and maybe the first signs of a future solo work? Even if it's Fambly Cat... leftovers and outtakes only, it's quite cool stuff. Especially "Forget You Then", but also "I Win Cuz She's In" and "Dearest Descrabler". "Little Lytle Boxes" is more a joke-piece.

I recommend all fans of Grandaddy to check out the demos, they can be downloaded for free at Jason's Grandaddy site. BUT, please, please, throw in some money as you're at it, so that Jason hopefully can afford some future (soon to happen and appear) recordings. We still need his pop genius around.

Copyright © 2008 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Grandaddy articles/reviews: - an interview in Cologne, Excerpts from the Diary of Todd Zilla, Just Like The Fambly Cat, Sumday, The Corner Hotel, Richmond, Melbourne, 8.5.04, The Liquid Room, Edinburgh, 29.08.2000, The Sophtware Slump, Way We Won't.

© 2011 Luna Kafé