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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
Under The Western Freeway
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£6.39+ £1.26 shipping

on 6 February 2017
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on 8 November 2017
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on 16 October 2017
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on 26 February 2011
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 3 or 4 other songs of a similar very high quality. As an impulse buy, consider it low risk.
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on 7 December 2016
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on 30 November 2002
While I hope to keep this review as balanced as possible, I have to admit that Grandaddy have become one of my all time favourite bands since I first heard ‘Under the Western Freeway’ 2 years ago.
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’. If you’ve only heard ELO’s chart releases you’ll never notice.
Most people will be drawn in by the rocky ‘AM180’ with its ice cream van siren signalling one of the most distinctive intros ever, but patience reveals this is an album with incredible depth and character. The same goes for their second proper studio album ‘The Sophtware Slump’, which continues the themes established here (only even more space aged) without sounding rehashed.
So give ‘Under the Western Freeway’ a try, you’ll thank yourself in the long run.
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on 16 July 2007
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 heard it and for the most part those feelings remain.
Grandaddy were band,(they have now split) who wanted to remain on the small time side of life,they refused large record label deals and toured very independently hence fans probably didnt even know that the band were in town so what they wanted they did but in the end it killed them,this debut album is hard to pin down in stles,there are elements of grunge,indie,country and folky moments as well,even poppy segments can be found here.
When you listen to this you are reminded of artists like neil young,mudhonet,weezer,rem and even bands like new order.This album is famous for the song that i have never forgotten in all the years thereafter and thats 'am 180',who doesnt love that song,with its quirky dippy opening to grungey riff and back again.'summer here kids' is also a classic as are 'laughing stock' and a few others to boot,alas the band at times played outside the zone and let a song drag on a minute or two too long and thats annoying but they werent in the industry to do what you expected,a good album but not a masterpiece although masterpiece songs exist within.
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on 8 December 2000
Grandaddy could be easily summarised as "Slow rock with synths"... but it's so much more than that!
I used to dislike synths in rock, probably because it reminded me too much of some crappy stuff from the 80's, but the way Grandaddy uses them made me change my mind: here they add space, they put you in a kind of peaceful trance, they sometimes are funny little noises but without ever being ridiculous.
The final touch, along with the always beautiful tunes, is the singer's fragile voice. Oh my... that voice! Soft and delicate, always on the brink of, but never breaking. It lies on the strata of synths and on the wall of guitars like a light feather on a calm lake.
I first came across Grandaddy on French TV (they played what became their hit single "AM 180") and I've been a fan since then. This record is their first album and contains this track. It is a good one to start with if you don't know the band, and a must have if you already like them!
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VINE VOICEon 16 January 2003
This is the most recent Grandaddy purchase I have made, and after already hearing and admiring their brilliant sophomore effort "The Sophtware Slump" as well as a few of their e.p.'s, it confirms my opinion that not only are Grandaddy one of the most consistently entertaining acts around, they are also creating music that somehow encapsulates the time we are living in, like no-one else can.
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.
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on 27 January 2001
Claims that ELO are Grandaddy's biggest influence are, quite frankly, ludicrous in the extreme. These guys don't really give a shit about most things, let alone the afro perms, coloured strips and fancy violins that prevailed in the aforementioned '70s "rock" band.
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).
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