GRANDADDY - THE SOPHTWARE SLUMP ON A WOODEN PIANO (Pink Vinyl) LP
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Grandaddy's album reimagined on piano. By pledging allegiance to old-time country music, 1960s power pop, and cheesy '70s electronic music, Grandaddy create an unlikely merger that, when it works, recalls the poppier elements of the Flaming Lips ("The Crystal Lake"). At other times ("He's Simple, He's Dumb, He's the Pilot"), you might hear the rustic charm of Palace shot through with a dose of Kraftwerk. Much like, say, Mark Linkous (who helms Sparklehorse), Grandaddy mastermind Jason Lytle camps out in a remote part of the world (Modesto, California, in his case) and then transmits his off-kilter observations with a minimum of fuss. He can be poignant (the piano ballad "Underneath the Weeping Willow") or too clever for his own good ("Broken Household Appliance National Forest," a love song to technology's grimier half). But then just as Grandaddy mix disparate musical influences, they also jam together in-jokes on top of pathos. --Rob O'Connor.