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Jason Lytle 

Yours Truly, the Commuter (ANTI-)

Wednesday, Jun 3 2009

It may be a relief to Grandaddy fans that former frontman Jason Lytle's solo debut sounds exactly like the erstwhile Modesto group's output. But that shouldn't come as a surprise. After all, Grandaddy was a band in name only, and before its swan song, Just Like the Fambly Cat, Lytle withdrew from his mates completely and moved to Montana, where he remains. Thus, for all intents and purposes, his latest work is a Grandaddy album.

From Yours Truly's first muted, distorted keys to its despairing acoustic guitar melodies and computerized bleeps and squeaks, Lytle's music evokes his trademark sorrow and tragedy. The lyrics, however, are more personal here, alternating between life-affirming, hopeful sing-alongs ("Brand New Sun," "It's the Weekend") and thinly veiled shrieks for help ("Birds Encouraged Him," "I Am Lost [and the Moment Cannot Last]"). Lytle has suffered from substance abuse and relationship problems over the years, and it's easy to empathize as he describes taking comfort from unusual situations. The fine-feathered friends of "Birds Encouraged Him," for example, discourage the narrator from taking his life, and the album is filled with fanciful stories. Singer-songwriters often lay their emotions bare, but rarely are they so sympathetic.

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Ben Westhoff


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