Grandaddy | Just Like the Fambly Cat (V2)

Just Like the Fambly Cat is an ending, not a stop-gap until the next record, but the conclusion of a moderately popular, fan-beloved outfit.

 

Fans of forward-thinking indie pop have been dreading the arrival of Just Like the Fambly Cat for months—it signals the end of acclaimed outfit Grandaddy, forcing those who delight in front man/mastermind Jason Lytle’s oddly angled outlook to wonder what this lo-fi legend will conjure next.

As swan songs go, Grandaddy’s is appropriately expansive, sonically referencing much of the willfully unclassifiable group’s predictably unpredictable career; a product of Modesto, Calif., Grandaddy only released four full-length albums (Cat is the fifth in 13 years), but is a group whose influence extends much further than one would think—traces of the sun-kissed pop crafted by Lytle & Co. are evident in such disparate bands as Secret Machines and Athlete.

Just Like the Fambly Cat isn’t an album that reveals its pleasures willingly; while tracks like “Summer…It’s Gone” and “Rear View Mirror” are immediate attention-grabbers, songs such as “Where I’m Anymore” and “Oxygen/Auxsend” are a little less obvious.
There’s the obvious sense of finality that’s difficult to shake throughout, a morbid air that permeates even the happiest cuts here. Just Like the Fambly Cat is an ending, not a stop-gap until the next record, but the conclusion of a moderately popular, fan-beloved outfit. The underlying sadness infuses the album with likely unintended pathos, an unshakably sad aura which lingers uncomfortably on the edges of sweetly beautiful songs such as “Guide Down Denied.”

That said, Lytle goes out in grand fashion, his keenly observed lyrics about the maddening minutiae of suburban life in full flourish and peppering the lush, dense musical compositions with wry humor. Just Like The Fambly Cat is a fitting, if perhaps morose, conclusion to one of the unsung alt-pop heroes of the last decade.
Grandaddy is dead; long live Grandaddy.


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