Grandaddy’s latest release Last Place has been long awaited by fans. It comes eleven years after its predecessor Just Like the Fambly Cat. With the eventual demise of humans and machinery alike being a recurring theme throughout Grandaddy’s repertoire, it seems like an ironic twist of fate that they too, would end up in the same way. Well, at least having faded away from the world they nearly made it in. That world being early 2000’s when they released their second album Sophtware Slump which gave them the acclaim that they never quite lived up to. Two more albums followed somewhat disappointingly until the band took an extended hiatus.
Well that hiatus has just ended and Grandaddy are back with the same end-of-the-world, lo-fi indie. So much so that these tracks sound like they belong to Grandaddy’s early years. This is good if you’re a hardcore fan and don’t like change. Otherwise, it’s a little boring. It makes for solid listening, but is nothing groundbreaking. Perhaps this disappointment is an effect of the extended wait between albums and the hype that this can build. As a standalone album, it’s a solid listen with a few great tracks.
The first track of the record ‘Way We Won’t’ greets us with a poppy, synth intro followed by a bassy undertone that’s intriguing enough to keep us listening. The repetitive melody on synth we hear in the intro recurs throughout and it is undeniably catchy. The comfort and familiarity we are served here reflects in the lyrics. The song is essentially about the banality of suburban, adult life; ‘More than a year landed out here, On a big box store roof, Tropical smells and back to school sales, Why would we ever move?’.
Repetition is clear theme in the record. Many songs feature repetitive melodies and lyrics and the album is in itself, repetitive on several levels. Songs merge into the next and the album could easily fit alongside its predecessor without anyone noticing.
Last Place has two clear parts; the first is mostly upbeat with singalong choruses and fuzzy guitar padded out with synth – that classic Grandaddy sound we’ve been starved of since before the Kardashians graced our TV screens (can you even remember a time when they weren’t on the telly?). It’s fun, synth heavy and grungey all together. The second part comes with the eighth track ‘That’s What You Get for Gettin’ Outta Bed’ and gives us a softer, more sombre set of songs. These last five tracks inject a sense of variety and take the album in a direction we’re not totally familiar with.
Last Place is like a sigh of relief for Grandaddy fans – finally it is here! However, the band have done little to evolve in the 11 year hiatus, albeit for the final few tracks. The album is full of the same standoffish charm we all know and love them for and while they haven’t changed things up that much, it’s well worth a listen for any fans.