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The Sophtware Slump (Deluxe Edition)

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Album Review

Picking up where their Signal to Snow Ratio EP left off, Grandaddy's wittily named second album The Sophtware Slump upgrades the group's wry, country-tinged rock with electronic flourishes that run through the album like fiber-optic lines. Arpeggiated keyboards sparkle on "Hewlett's Daughter" and "The Crystal Lake," and wind, birds, and transmissions hover around the songs' peripheries, suggesting a Silicone Valley landscape. Jason Lytle's frail, poignant vocals provide a bittersweet counterpoint to the chugging guitars and shiny electronics that envelop him like a cockpit or a cubicle on "Chartsengrafs" and "Broken Household Appliance National Forest," and set the tone for melancholy ballads like "He's Simple, He's Dumb, He's the Pilot," "Miner at the Dial-a-View," and "Jed the Humanoid," the story of a forgotten, alcoholic android. Lost pilots, robots, miners, and programmers try to find their way on The Sophtware Slump, an album that shares a spacy sadness with Sparklehorse's Good Morning Spider and Radiohead's OK Computer. Though it's a little more self-conscious and not quite as accomplished as either of those albums, it is Grandaddy's most impressive work yet, and one of 2000's first worthwhile releases. [The Japanese edition features bonus tracks.]


Formed: 1992 in Modesto, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The solar-powered space pop combo Grandaddy were formed in 1992 in Modesto, CA, by singer/guitarist/keyboardist Jason Lytle, bassist Kevin Garcia, and drummer Aaron Burtch. Although a noisy, lo-fi approach characterized early recordings like 1994's Complex Party Come Along Theories, the addition of guitarist Jim Fairchild and keyboardist Tim Dryden in 1995 expanded the band's sound exponentially, fueling such subsequent efforts as the unreleased Don't Sock the Tryer and the 1996 EP A Pretty Mess...
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