Grandaddy are back after a six-year break with Last Place and you’ll be happy to hear their blend of indie space rock is still very much up to their classic form. They manage to return to their fans almost perfectly, sinking back into their classic sound with what feels like ease and pulling their audience into an almost hypnotic state of euphoria.
The album opens with the fantastic Way We Won’t, instantly exploding into the 90’s experimental indie sensibilities that is a Grandaddy song. It raises expectations for the what’s to follow, but thankfully manages to live up to its own hype.
The album continues its upbeat feeling with tracks like Evermore but often nose dives into more ambient sounds such as the swirling fifty-second intermission Oh She Deleter :(. It’s a reprise of a previous Grandaddy song titled She Deleter, which I believe is on the compilation album The Windfall Varietal, an album only sold by the band themselves at live shows. Grandaddy had a lot of fun with call-backs to their previous work on this album, a risky move for a band after such a long time away, but manage to pull it off by injecting new life and sound in ways previous albums never considered.
The Boat Is In The Barn starts off quite a fast paced song following a very odd pattern for a Grandaddy track, not a bad thing at all as it works nicely. It slowly falls into a slower, more powerful tempo, the lyrics “Oh no, my love ain’t gone/ The boat is in the barn” fading into a piano piece with a wistful synth in the background and featuring distorted piano.
The stand out track is certainly Jed the 4th, which brings me nicely back to the aforementioned call-backs. This song is a sequel to Jed’s Other Poem from the album The Software Slump. Jed was a character that appeared on a number of tracks, first appearing on Jeddy 3’s Poem from the EP Signal To Snow Ratio. In Jed the 4th Lytle admits in the chorus that “You know it’s all a metaphor/ for being drunk and on the floor/ so give it up for Jed the 4th/ Though he don’t come around no more” before breaking into a reprise of Jed’s Other Poem for a short verse.
The next track, Lost Machine might not be a direct call-back, but certainly feels like a continuation to Broken Household Appliance National Forest also from The Software Slump. It explores a post-apocalyptic world wherein nature and technology have almost become one. It’s also the longest and most beautiful track on the album. It’s a 6-minute dive into classic Grandaddy sound and according to Lytle himself was the track that helped him to realise he was working on a new Grandaddy record as it took shape. The album then wraps up nicely with a fantastically depressing Songbird Son which feels as if it could be a wave goodbye by the band or a call for us fans to follow on for more “Message better left unsent/ Don’t say nothing”.
This album is likely to be a stand out from 2017 and easily stands up to all of Grandaddy’s previous work. Alongside their other great albums and I wholeheartedly recommend it to any indie music fan.