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Grandaddy are a relatively unheard of band – an American group with 4 or 5 albums, this being their latest offering I believe. Released in 2000, ‘The Sophtware (sic) slump’ offers the listener a sumptuous soundscape – simple computer beats, intertwined with bare vocals, pleasant piano and rocking guitar. Stylistically this album draws comparisons to ‘Ok Computer’, but in places sounds more like The Flaming Lips or Sparklehorse. Their own conglomeration of styles ranges from Space rock and technologically fused lyrics to spangley indie-chic, back to floaty mysterious music. It may take some getting used to – but its certainly worth it. Grandaddy have beaten their own path here, with emotional but playful tunes and ingenious use of rhythm and electronica. The album explores the outer reaches of music, pushing boundaries whilst making a record that is easy to listen to, and pleasing to the ear. Perhaps this is why the album was Mercury prize nominated (did it win, I cant remember?). Cerebral, innovative and beautiful; this album is a must for anyone’s collection. Give it a try.
The Sophtware Slump is Grandaddy‘s second album, and features 11 wonderful, beautiful, intruiging songs about robots, household appliances, and modern accessories, which sounds like a strange concept for an album, but it really is an outstanding album. The album features wonderful lyrics, sung beatifully by Jason Lytle, with keyboards playing arpeggios on "The Crystal Lake", and other sounds sampled to give the album the feel of a futuristic landscape. As far as genres go, it is sort of American lo-fi, fuzz rock, played by a bunch of strange Americans, especially the drummer, he is strange. The first song is beautiful, "He‘s simple, He‘s Dumb, He‘s The Pilot", weighs in at 8:52, and is featured on the soundtrack for the second series of Trigger Happy TV. It a song that changes style many times, and features synthesisers, keyboards, samples and robot voices. It‘s a really wonderful song, that even has a string group in the background during the chorus. After the main verse/chorus, Lytle comes in singing quietly with just a piano, "I believe they want you to give in", it‘s just hauntingly beautiful. The next song is "Hewlett‘s Daughter", again there is a reference to 21st century technology, Hewlett being one half of Hewlett and Packard. This songs starts out as a simple fuzz rock song, but then comes a keyboard arpeggio solo, then the chorus with another string group. Towards the end of the song, there is a sort of loud guitar and drum fanfare, which is an interesting touch. "Jed The Humanoid" is the 3rd song, and is one of the most interestingly different songs i have ever heard. It is a slow, quiet song about a robot constructed in the kitchen, that died from negligence. The song is basically Lytle, a piano, and an organ, with quiet, fuzzy backing vocals. The song is slow, and quite sad, but really is an excellent song; it is just so unique. <
br><br>"The Crystal Lake" was a single featured from the album, and just seems to be a simple, fuzz rock song, until the keyboard arpeggio comes in. It is a really good single, and in my opinion one of the best songs on the album. Definitely worth getting hold of. "Chartsengrafs" is a short song, and is heavier and riffier than the other songs on the album. Lytle‘s vocals are really beautiful, juxtaposing the loud, raucous guitars. This song is fairly short, and tails off with a long keyboard solo. "Underneath The Weeping Willow", is slow and woeful, yet beautiful, and is about sleeping underneath a weeping willow, which drains you of your sadness. The song features just Lytle and a piano. This is another simple song, which grows on you, as you learn about the song, and realise it isnt just a boring, quiet, slow song. The song finishes with the wonderful lyric "To wake and be happy again". "Broken Household Appliance National Forest", is about home comforts, and contemporary technology. It starts quietly with an organ, acoustic guitar, and percussion instrument, underneath Lytle‘s quiet vocals about "dead" microwaves, and the "refrigerators house the frogs". It is about the animals predicting the end of modern technology, and our world being destroyed, which makes it a song like no other. After the apocalyptic opening, comes the loud guitars, and the change of tempo, signalling the chorus. The lyrics for this song really are unique, unlike anything that has gone before. Ths song changes tempo, and mixes loud with soft with ease. It is a truly awesome song. "Jed‘s Other Poem", is a poem written by Jed The Humanoid, who was made out of "this and that", in a kitchen. This song features a more serious, dark side of Grandaddy, with loud, fuzzy keyboards, and loud, echoey drum beats. It is still a slow song, and fits in with t
he rest of the album. This song even features a mention of Beck. This far into the album, you wonder, what do these guys take, and can you get it in England? The loud keyboards and drums fall away, leaving a quiet haunting organ sound, with Lytle‘s vocals distant and echoey. "E. Knievel Interlude", is an instrumental, with a ticking clock sampled, and loud engine noises. It‘s just there really to fill a gap and add a track to the album. "Miner at the Dial-A-View", is a rock song, like "Crystal Lake", featuring a computer voice of a map view service in America, which again highlights the technology aspect of this album. This song is about being homesick, and being away from home for a long period of time, and having to view your home through a technological device. It is a great song, one of my favourites. The last song finishes the album off, and is a typical mish-mash of samples, computer sounds, keyboards, strings and Lytle‘s wonderful voice. This album, in summation, is an absolutely fantastic album, venturing where no-one else dares, and it was one of the best buy‘s of 2000, although I feel Grandaddy won‘t have much of an audience in the States. This album is essential in my eyes, and well worth getting, although if you like standard American alternative, this won‘t really interest you. I give this album 5/5.
A friend first told me about Grandaddy - before that point I'd never heard of the band. I heard my first Grandaddy song on MTV and I was a good enough reason for me to buy the album. I wasn't dissapointed. Its a very relaxed album - great for just chillin out at home and relaxing. Its a great shame with bands like Grandaddy, Semisonic and other un-heard of indie/rock bands arn't recognised in the British Charts, and Steps and S-Club 7 are. Most of my friends havent heard of Grandaddy,this is because thew charts now-a-days are saturated with manurfactured music. I recomend you buy it- even if you have'nt heard any of their songs you will enjoy it if you're after something you can chill out to or if you enjoy indie/rock.
I came across Californian based Grandaddy's album by pure chance and was much in need for something fresh in my CD collection - it more than fit the bill. I have fallen in love with this quirky and peculiar album. Grandaddy's 'The Sophtware Slump' is a remarkable work of sweeping ballads to subjects as eccentric as recently deceased, neglected robot's called Jed, that was created in the kitchen 'Jed the Humanoid', to peans to obsolescent pieces of mass technology; 'Broken Household Appliance National Forrest' and remote viewing of the world 'Miner at the Dial-a-view'. The whole album is infused with some sort of epic, futuristic technology, so much so that I'm sure it shouldn't of really worked, being as close to a seventies 'concept' album as it is - but it does work - beautifully. What is here is tunes aplenty with lyrics that make you prick up your ears, all sung by Jason Lytle - the vocalist, keyboardist and guitarist (the hardest worker in the band then?) with a voice reminiscent of a young Neil Young. It sounds like he's a top a huge technological rubbish dump, watching the world grow a grey pallor as technology overtakes humanity. Highly recommended.
I was introduced to Grandaddy with the tracks "The Crystal Lake" and "Hewlett's Daughter". The Sophtware Slump was on my Christmas list because of these songs, and I don't regret that. The tracks of this album are all good in their own right, but I find the album as a whole a bit samey. Most of the tracks are the same kind of thing, which while it is good on its own, an album full of it can be quite mind-numbing. Tracks I particularly like are Jed The Humanoid, a tale about a being created but then neglected, and Miner at the Dial-a-view, which is bizzare in a good way. Many people compare this to Radiohead's OK Computer, which is in some ways a fair comparison. The mood of the music is slightly different, but the sound is similar. All in all a good album, so long as you listen to it in short bursts.
In America this album was being compared to OK Computer and was hailed as the best album of 2000. I immediately went out to get this album and after the first listen I was dissappointed. In my eyes (or ears) it failed to live up to its reputation. However after a couple of listens it began to grow on me. The opening track He's simple, he's dumb, he's the pilot is excellent all be it 9 minutes long. The piano driven Underneath The Weeping Willow is also a highlight along with the current single Crystal Lake. This album dissappointed me at the start because it was nothing like OK Computer. It was probably compared to OK Computer because they are both ground breaking. You have to give The Sophtware Slump at least a couple of listens to really get into it. You should definately buy this album but don't expect another OK Computer.
Far from being a laughing stock these bearded wonders have fashioned a monumental piece of work. Whatever way you reach this album, whether it be through the glowing press they have received, their cathedral like live shows or their previous records nothing can prepare you for the grandeur of the Sophtware Slump. Grandaddy may give off the impression of being uncultured hicks but they have it in them to create intelligent, fragile tunes that are likely to knock you sideways. That they have not achieved mainstream success is beyond me. It seems that unless you're under 23 and have glossy magazine type looks there isn't a hope you'll crack the charts. Then again though they may have appeared in Hunter monthly, Grandaddy do seem somewhat facially challenged. For those of the music over matter persuasion, The Sophtware Slump is a rare treat. It's the type record that creates that Christmas feeling all year round. Each track has it's own kaleidoscope approach that is very hard to dislike. Maybe it's Jason Lytle's gorgeous vocal rasp or that the rest of the bands unearthly racket never sounds out of tune that reels you in until submission is the only alternative available. Opening with 'He's Simple, He's Dumb, He's the Pilot' is a brave move. Releasing it a single is even braver. Clocking in at just under 9 minutes it is a lot to cope with at first, but it's laid-back harmonies soon win you over. Perhaps it would have been more suitable as the albums finale. 'Hewletts Daughter' is a lot more accessible, perfect music for getting dressed to in the morning. Like many great albums a lot of The Sophtware Slump only makes sense after a number of listens. 'The Crystal Lake' is a exception to this rule because on the very first listen you know there is sometime very special under way. Elsewhere 'Jed the Humanoid' shimmers on a sea of a transylvanian organs. 'Mi
ner at the Dial-A-View' is a song that splinters in so many directions that a live environment is where it truly belongs. At the end 'So you'll Aim Towards the Sky' is so achingly beautiful you'll wonder why Grandaddy don't sit on the throne in pop heaven. While many bemoaned the state of the charts, if you looked hard enough the year 2000 was a pretty good year for groundbreaking albums. The Sophtware Slump is certainly one of these and marks a fine progression from Grandaddy's debut 'Under the Western Highway'. At this rate of development they'll soon be producing something that will knock the stars from the sky.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 He's Simple, He's Dumb, He's The Pilot
2 Hewlett's Daughter
3 Jed The Humanoid
4 The Crystal Lake
6 Underneath The Weeping Willow
7 Broken Household Appliance National Forest
8 Jed's Other Poem
9 Miner At The Dial-A-View
10 So You'll Aim Toward The Sky
11 So You'll Aim Toward The Sky