Just Like the Fambly Cat
First Appeared in The Music Box, May 2006, Volume 13, #5
Written by Tracy M. Rogers
Imagine a band that possesses Queen’s musical flamboyance, The Cars’ infectious synth and three-chord guitar riffs, and the ambience of Wall-era Pink Floyd. Now, throw in elements of the crunching guitars of post-punk, the altered strings and overdubs of electronica, and a few grandiose, classical piano interludes. The result most likely would sound like the latest from Modesto-based Grandaddy, Just Like the Fambly Cat. A musically mercurial, lyrically pithy take on suburban America, the album finds Jason Lytle and company producing an oft morose, yet strangely upbeat, tour de farce.
Just Like the Fambly Cat’s 15 tracks include numerous high points and very few lows, in spite of Grandaddy’s seemingly incongruous musical influences. Summer...It’s Gone is a wistful, whimsical folk-rock jaunt that features a space rock-oriented middle interlude and a power pop-imbued outro. The Animal World, by contrast, is a neo-psychedelia-meets-electronica ditty that boasts harmonies worthy of the Mamas and the Papas as well as the sarcastic punk refrain "joy to the world." With its trippy, folk-pop melody and ethereal strings, Guide Down Denied takes the band further into space rock territory, while Elevate Myself, with its Cars-inspired synthesizer accompaniment and lyrics lambasting the TRL generation, is experimental new wave at its best. The one-minute vignette 50% is yet another true gem on which Lytle drapes his best punk sneer over crunching power chords and lyrics about the loquaciousness of the information age.
To be certain, Just Like the Fambly Cat has moments that are less than engaging and experiments that don’t quite work, but for the most part, these are few and (more often than not) brief. In fact, Just Like the Fambly Cat is one of the few adventures in musical excess that succeeds, presumably because of the ostensible sarcasm and wit with which Grandaddy undertakes its task. ˝
Just Like the Fambly Cat is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box