The Austin Chronicle

Phases and Stages

Record Review

Reviewed by Melanie Haupt, June 27, 2003, Music


Sumday (V2) Grandaddy's third full-length is the band's Dark Side of the Moon, a musical snapshot of postmodern existence in which things are often not what they seem. Sumday kicks off with the explosive "Now It's On," seguing into the simultaneously wistful and sly "I'm on Standby," in which the narrator blames his dysfunction on being a malfunctioning machine. While such a topic is positively Radiohead in its despair, singer Jason Lytle makes it a joke, playing with the internal rhyme when he sings "out of order, sort of." The hijinks continue with "The Go in the Go-For-It" poking fun at the ambitious types our overworking society has produced, culminating in a musical panic attack a few tracks later on "Lost on Yer Merry Way." The story's protagonist, it seems, has embraced his alienation from the workaday world, embarking on a Kerouacian journey that goes south. A subtle tempo change late in the track changes the song's tenor remarkably; what was an easygoing song is suddenly shot through with anxiety, then uneasy surrender. The hero lets go, freeing himself from the rat race, but wonders if he'll survive such a risky move. The disc wraps with the psychedelia the NorCal-based band is known for, settling sweetly into dreamy melancholia. Listeners are left to eavesdrop on the hero as he asks, "What have I become?" on the album's last track, "The Final Push to the Sum." Ultimately, he regrets bucking the system and the sum of his -- and our -- experience is sadder than its parts.


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