Grandaddy: Blu Wav [Album Review]

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Blu Wav
Dangerbird Records [2024]


Album Overview: Grandaddy’s new studio album Blu Wav marks Jason Lytle’s return after a 7-year hiatus. Released via Dangerbird Records, it embraces themes ranging from the beauty of nature to the poignant moments that shape lasting memories. Inspired by a fusion of bluegrass and new wave, the album delivers a new and unexpected sound from Grandaddy, featuring 13 tracks, including seven waltzes.

Musical Style: Blu Wav combines Grandaddy’s signature lo-fi lushness and psychedelic orchestration with a venture into true country territory. The album features dense synthesizers, electronics, and an abundance of pedal steel, blending elements of bluegrass, new wave, and classic country.

Evolution of Sound: Grandaddy’s sound in Blu Wav evolves from their previous works by incorporating elements of bluegrass and new wave into their established indie-rock foundation. The album showcases a willingness to experiment with new sounds while maintaining the band’s distinctive style. I will say that the better songs on this record still incorporate a more historic Grandaddy formula, as the slower, more bluegrass-driven tracks lacked a memorable quality for me. It is a record that plays fine, but I can’t find myself needing to go back for more.

Artists with Similar Fire: Grandaddy falls in line with artists such as Sparklehorse, Mercury Rev, The Flaming Lips, Elliott Smith, and Built to Spill, who share a similar blend of indie-rock sensibilities with psychedelic and experimental elements.

Pivotal Tracks: “Cabin In My Mind” is a very familiar-sounding track on the record. It has that catchy Grandaddy sound with the most memorable hook on the record. “Long as I’m Not the One” captures the album’s themes of lost love and introspection. “Watercooler” has a nice foot-tapping tempo as it incorporates some of the newer bluegrass structure working behind its indie lyrical depth and smooth melodic delivery.

Lyrical Strength: Blu Wav demonstrates lyrical strength through its ability to evoke imagery and emotion. It does paint a picture when you go deeper into the album’s melancholic reflections on lost love and heartache. Grandaddy’s lyrics pinpoint mundane moments that resonate deeply, and in this area, showcases Lytle’s veteran status.

Last Place (2017)

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