Grandaddy - Last Place
Grandaddy are a band who have never been comfortable in the spotlight. Back in 2009, frontman Jason Lytle described himself as "a bit of a loner", and it was this that ultimately called a halt to the band in 2006.
It’s not been an easy time for Lytle since we last heard from him - in the studio on 2012's Dept. of Disapperance - and he’s poured it all into Last Place. And it's a quintessentially Grandaddy album, nothing ground breaking, more like greeting an old friend who you’ve not heard from in too long.
Opening with ‘Way We Won’t’, the track released at the end of last year,starts things on relatively familiar ground. Lytle sings fondly of “cinnamon smells and holiday sales”, asking “why would we ever move?” Ever bitter about his move to Portland where he worked on much of the album and ended a ten-year relationship, the topic also comes up in the aptly titled ‘I Don’t Wanna Live Here Anymore’.
Much of the album deals with feelings that are still raw from this break up. Somehow, Lytle’s wispy vocals make talk of grieving and deletion a pleasant experience. Pair it up with dreamy synths, chugging guitars, robotic bloops and that trademark Grandaddy sound is complete.
‘Jed The 4th’ gives the latest, and probably final, instalment in the story of Jed the Humanoid. First introduced on The Sophtware Slump, Jeddy 3 (is what we first called him) drank himself to death in that same first song. Now in this latest song, Lytle explains, “you know it’s all a metaphor, for being drunken on the floor.”
The highlight of the whole album however, comes at the penultimate song. ‘A Lost Machine’ finds its foundation on simple piano chords, but builds with woodwind, strings and of course, electronic sounds. At just over six minutes long, it’s the longest track on the album, but not once does it feel like its outstayed its welcome.
With a title like Last Place and a fondness for disappearing, many are left wondering whether this really is the last stop for Grandaddy. If it is, then it’s a mighty fine farewell, and one that can stand proudly alongside a magnificent back catalogue.