This is less of an album review than it is a public service announcement. In celebration of twenty years of the release of the Grandaddy album ‘Sumday’, they have released the album’s four-track cassette demos as its own standalone collection.
I’ve had a few favourite bands in my life. Many I go back to, and they just don’t have the impact they did. But Grandaddy are different. Grandaddy’s albums always sound good and fresh, no matter how many years have passed by. Now, Sumday was not my favourite Grandaddy album – that was ‘The Sophtware Slump’, released three years earlier. But this album does contain some of my most favourite Grandaddy songs. And to be honest, despite not being my favourite Grandaddy album, it still rates as one my favourite albums by any artist. It just can’t quite compare in my mind to the brilliance of their own Sophtware Slump…
Writing from the land of Flying Nun, where music used to stand on the quality of the song and not the quality of the playing, recording or production, these songs sound amazing. The track listing and titles on this are largely identical to the original release, bar “Saddest Vacant Lot in All the World”, which goes under the moniker “Passed out in a Datsun”. I first listened to the album on YouTube, where “Stray Dog and the Chocolate Shake" was listed as “Stray Dog and the Chocolate Karaoke", but is not actually included among the recordings there. Hopping over to Bandcamp, however, we do get to hear the song – different to the rest of the album, which (again) represents the demo versions of the album songs, this one appears to be identical to that on Sumday, just sans lyrics...i.e., it’s literally the karaoke version. Overall, this release provides an interesting document, and the songs I so love stand up really well in their stripped back – though already basically perfectly formed - state. What to recommend, if you want to dabble, like the swan on the cover? Among my favourite songs on the original, which still stand up here, try out “OK with My Decay”, “The Warming Sun”, “I’m on Standby” and “Final Push to the Sum”.
What more can I say about it? Overall, I’m likely just preaching to the converted here. Jason Lytle’s voice is amazing, as you expect, and a high proportion of the songs on this album are amazing. This is really just a little gift to the existing fans, I think, rather than ever expecting to make any new ones. But then again, the songs are so strong... if you are a lover of lo-fi (...as I know many of our readers are), then maybe this might just be your gateway into them, moreso than the highly polished sounds of the original?