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Grandaddy - Blu Wav (Album Review)

Wednesday, 21 February 2024 Written by Tom Morgan

Photo: Dustin Aksland

Fans of sad, cosmic alt-country rejoice! This small but fervent group will be ecstatic at the release of ‘Blu Wav’, the latest from California cult heroes Grandaddy, who looked for a while like they were finished.

Their previous album ‘Last Place’ was the final outing for long-time bassist Kevin Garcia, who died suddenly just two months after its release. This led to bandleader Jason Lytle putting the project on hiatus for several years.

Equally, ‘Blu Wav’ is potentially the band’s final album. Lytle has alluded to wanting to “spend more time outdoors, off the grid” and this matches his lyrical perspective here, which is relentlessly insular and isolated.

The title of Cabin In My Mind says it all, while Long As I’m Not The One digs even deeper into his solitary mindset. Atop gliding lap-steel guitars (the most melancholic instrument) Lytle gently delivers achingly sad lyrics. “Once upon a time / I knew that you were mine / But that time has gone,” he sings.

As with this track, Grandaddy’s music sometimes stands in juxtaposition to the lacerating words. However, moments such as On A Train Or Bus lean into the forlorn subject matter, arriving on the back of slowcore tempos and textures that are simultaneously spacious and heavy.

If this all sounds a bit navel-gazing, it is. However, so was Townes Van Zandt. Grandaddy’s woes feel constantly authentic and honest. Combine this with some marvellous arrangements and a sense of grandeur and ‘Blu Wav’ becomes quite the (possible) swansong.


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