Ten Readings of a Warning
First Appeared in The Music Box, April 2007, Volume 14, #4
Written by John Metzger
The collapse of Grandaddy was supposed to signal the launch of Jason Lytle’s solo career. After all, he was the mastermind behind the project; the one who formed the band, wrote and sang the songs, and shaped them with his guitar and keyboard accompaniments. Considering the strength of All Smiles’ Ten Readings of a Warning, however, Grandaddy’s quiet, second guitarist Jim Fairchild is the one who seems poised to steal all the glory. Fairchild had begun working on the material featured on All Smiles’ debut prior to the demise of his former band, and the delicate softness of the set directly conveys the reflective solitude of his homegrown approach. Save for a quartet of drummers — Danny Seim, Solon Bixler, Joe Plummer, and Sleater-Kinney’s Janet Weiss — Fairchild performs everything on the endeavor by himself. Although he spikes the music with the occasional sharp-edged stabs of an electric guitar, the bulk of Ten Readings of a Warning unfolds with bittersweet tenderness as he drapes Beatle-esque textures across a facade of experimental, John Fahey-like folk-pop, while adding touches that are reminiscent of Pavement, Yo La Tengo, Wilco, and The Kinks. Throughout the set, Fairchild draws comparisons to his former outfit while also developing his own distinctive musical language as he moves from the breezy, cloud-dappled skies of Summer Stay to the determination that drives Moth in a Cloud of Smoke and from the regret-filled I Know It’s Wrong to Pile of Burning Leaves’ angst over a child that isn’t meant to be. In the end, All Smiles’ Ten Readings of a Warning obliterates the notion that Lytle was the only source of Grandaddy’s talent. ½
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2007 The Music Box