By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
It may be a relief to fans of Grandaddy that former frontman Jason Lytle's solo debut Yours Truly, the Commuter sounds exactly like a Grandaddy album. But it shouldn't be a surprise. After all, they were a band in name only, and before their swan song, Just Like the Fambly Cat, he withdrew completely and moved to Montana.
And so, from the album's first muted, slightly distorted keys to its despairing acoustic guitar melodies and computerized bleeps and squeaks, Yours Truly, the Commuter's music once again evokes the sorrow and tragedy we've come to appreciate from Lytle.
The lyrics, however, are even more personal than usual, 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 in his songs he takes comfort from wherever he can find it; the fine-feathered friends of "Birds Encouraged Him," for example, discourage its narrator from taking his life, and the album is filled with fanciful stories throughout. Singer-songwriters often lay their emotions on the table, but rarely are they so sympathetic.