Under The Western Freeway CD
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Grandaddy - Under The Western Freeway - Cd
They claim that their favourite band is ELO, but you wouldn't know it to hear Grandaddy's first full-length album. Indeed, it's only the Californian quintet's beards that suggest any kinship with 1970's pomp-rock. On the evidence of Under The Western Freeway, there's very little worth doing in music that Sebadoh, Pavement and Pixies haven't already done between them. Some people may remember surprise radio hit "AM180", a jaunty clattering exercise in raucous fuzz pop. In its way, it's a typical Grandaddy song: lyrics whose downcast nature you wouldn't notice thanks to his colleagues' freewheeling clatter; and the unmistakeable sound of a band who can't see the point of a studio when you've, like, got a house. And because tracks like "Laughing Stock" and "Collective Dreamwish Of Upperclass Elegance" are stuffed with hooks so big you could pull down the Eiffel Tower with them, you'll forgive them anything. Which is just as well, because those really are terrible beards. --Peter Paphides
Top Customer Reviews
They blend acoustic guitar, electric guitar, pianos and synths in a uniquely atmospheric fashion. Their songs often flick from grunge guitars, to melodic pianos and off into space age synths in just a few seconds, but it never feels wrong. The songs always seem to have a very definite flow and they rarely lose the listener in a mash of sounds. Tying all this together are some of the most wonderful lyrics ever penned. There are no love songs or tales of teenage angst here, instead you get songs that conjure up visions of ship-wrecked astronauts and sitting on a veranda having a beer and strumming on a six-string. Take the opening few lines of track 9:
“Go progress chrome
They paint the moon today
Some brand new future colour”
It’s original stuff and much more interesting than hearing someone yawn on about how they can’t live without a certain girl/boy.
People who have heard that one of Grandaddy’s biggest influences is ELO maybe put off by this idea; I know a lot of Grandaddy fans reject this statement outright, but I’m afraid it’s true. Don’t panic though, as someone who was brought up with ELO during the 70’s I can assure you we’re not talking ‘Mr Blue Sky’ or ‘Last Train to London’ here. In fact it’s ELO’s 1980 space opera ‘Time’ that seems to have had the most lasting impact on Grandaddy’s song-writing, but it’s fairly subtle. An odd riff or chord that sounds familiar or a few lyrics that are reminiscent of ‘The Rain is Falling’.Read more ›
It begins with nonphenomenal lineage which sets the scene for the rest of the album and for Grandaddy's overall sound. AM180 is then a surprise as it is quite literally a pop tune, although not one like you have ever heard before.
The title track is possibly the most relaxing, beautiful piece of music you are ever likely to hear, complete with bumblebee. It is hard to pick a favourite as the album is packed with minor classics.
The overall appeal of this album is its obvious musical integrity and overwhelming sense of peace that seems to surround it. You can fall asleep to it, put it on as background music and jump about to it. It all seems to wrapped up in a kind of 'fuzziness', for want of a better word, that can only really be described as essentially summery.
Buy it and never let it go.
The songs are constructed not only of hypnotic melodies, but lyrics which deal with pre- and post-millenial angst, the uneasy, but bizarrely happy, marriage of technology and nature, and the belief that the world has never been further out of our control. In the hands of anyone else, this stuff would be clumsily, embarassingly post-modern nonsense, but in the hands of this one band, it's like music from an alternate reality.
Grandaddy: doing something strangely right.
The strange thing about this album (and its excellent sequel The Sophtware Slump) is that the first couple of listens produce songs or bits of songs that you either dislike or think are out of place. A little more listening effort reveals the method behind the madness.
Weird album cover, a scrawled lyric sheet and the suggestion that "Lytle" does everything except make the tea complete the package, one which I recommend most heartily to those who only like about 2 ELO songs (including Mr Blue Sky).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this album because A.M. 180 was used as the theme for a Charlie Brooker TV show. It's the stand out track of the album but I was pleasantly surprised to discover at least... Read morePublished on 26 Feb. 2011 by D. R. Bett
goodness,is this album really ten years old,i bought it not that long after it was released and recently spun it a few more times to relive the feelings that i had when i first... Read morePublished on 16 July 2007 by sean paul mccann
Five stars is not enough, I award a special crown, and a trumpet & some turkish delight.
I'm so glad I missed my trip into town.
Big Mountains, Big Love
Grandaddy could be easily summarised as "Slow rock with synths"... but it's so much more than that! Read morePublished on 8 Dec. 2000