I haven’t heard alot of Grandaddy since I used to listen to John Peel. Crystal Lake came in at number 50 in the festive fifty in the year 2000, something which I taped and then played ad infinitum. So news of a new single from the band have made me realise how much I’ve missed both their music and Peel’s music shows, its hard to believe that Peel died over ten years ago. But life goes on. Over the years, since I lost interest in my Festive Fifty tape, I reminisced about those Grandaddy days, misrembering the Grandaddy track, thinking they had recorded Herman Dune’s Drug Dealer in the Park, which also found its way into the festive fifty. ‘Drug dealer in the park!’ I thought when I heard that, ‘what a great thing to sing about, what a great thing to think about, how utterly grounded and how utterly mundane and dark’. Coming full circle, watching Grandaddy’s new video to their single, Evermore, I was struck that their unique perspective on quotidian nausea was still present. I have never ever seen a film of an airplane dropping a cargo of shit over a pristine and beautiful environment, over and over again. I have never seen it, and I’m so glad I have now, how utterly utterly wonderful, what a fantastic metaphor for the collective stupidity of the human race (me included I’m afraid) for its constant disregard for the planet and each other. Donald Trump, eat your shit out. But anyway, in wanting to check my facts and confirm my memory of the past I’ve realised that Grandaddy did not sing ‘Drug dealer in the park’. Crystal Lake was the Grandaddy track that was voted in at number 50 by Peel’s listeners. This makes sense. So, OK Evermore is a nice electronic indie number, Jason Lytle has a laid back college rock voice, like a stoned Wayne Coyne. And yeh, OK, he paints euphoric pictures, and the small time beats give a nice pace to the track, hence the soaring, hence use of the word soaring in the lyrics, hence the aeroplane. And you know, Lyttle sneers a little as well. If Coyne is earnest, Lyttle is mildly cynical, hence the bags of shit falling out of the aeroplane. But, but, Evermore lacks the emotional honesty of Herman Dune. Drug Dealer in the Park is a song about the emotion of the moment. Evermore is a track from a band which is spaced out. And when I finally took a listen to Crystal Lake, and reminded myself of the comforting tones of the track, it gave me the same kind of feeling. I realised that Grandaddy have not moved on a great deal in seventeen years, which if you have been anaesthetised for the last decade, wont bother you a whole deal. Crystal Lake if anything, had a bit more life to it, a bit of hope. ‘And Find My Way Again’ sang Lyttle, as if he was Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, after which followed a romantic ditty on the guitar and a whimsical flourish of floaty spaced out moog, a sound that was contemporaneous to the music on Peel’s 2000 play list. In 2017 Evermore suggests a band frozen in the past so as to be transfixed and terrified by some awful distant future, ‘Grief like a freeway trip’, sings Lyttle, defeated.
Cool droning college rock has never completely gone out of fashion, it was never really in, though it may have had its heyday in the mid-90s. Trails and Ways recently released Happiness, which like Grandaddy’s material has a base of understated college rock vocals, but provides a contrast in that it has a nice upbeat rhythm, and nice overlapping female vocals. Its a perfect little tune. A jangly Beloved?