Just Like the Fambly Cat
“We’ve been doing this a long fucking time,” says Grandaddy drummer Aaron Burtch in the new Magnet, “and it’s still not happened for us the way it happened for other people we toured with: Coldplay, Bright Eyes, Snow Patrol. We’re too weird, too fuckin’ ugly. We’re not rich kids, and we’re not art students.” Grandaddy is over. Mastermind Jason Lytle—who conceived, recorded and played everything on every Grandaddy record including this one, the fourth and last LP—has decided that success is never coming for this critically acclaimed space-rock outfit, and so he’s released this parting gift, Just Like the Fambly Cat, and that’s it. No appearances. No tour. Done. Now that you know this, the record hurts that much more. It opens with a child asking repeatedly, over a pair of dreamy pianos and the customary blips, “What happened to the family cat?” It’s an apt metaphor, as are track titles like “Rear View Mirror,” “Disconnecty” and “This is How it Always Starts.” Musically, Lytle stays within the confines of 2003’s majestic Sumday, jamming his sad songs of broken-down detachment and witticisms with as many sounds as his synth can make. The final track, “Shangri-La (Outro),” brings the piano back over a closing-credits-style ballad as he sings “I’ll never return to Shangri -La” over and over. But maybe he will, sumday.