CD Review of Yours Truly, The Commuter by Jason Lytle
Jason Lytle: Yours Truly, The Commuter
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Jason Lytle:
Yours Truly, The Commuter

Reviewed by Lee Zimmerman

I
f Grandaddy never quite fulfilled its early promise (Ed. Note: And they didn’t), it might have been due to an aural approach that never quite coalesced, at least enough to be easily identified as a cohesive signature sound. Electronic embellishment and a penchant for cosmic dabbling often ran parallel to their loftier intents, but the sweetness in their melodies never seemed to find focus. As a result, even their best efforts seemed something of a mishmash, and when the group ground to a halt in 2006, it was likely due as much to an inability to articulate its ideas as to the fact that the members had simply run out of steam.

If Grandaddy’s erstwhile leader, singer, songwriter and mainline musician Jason Lytle felt any responsibility for this malaise, he’s likely not saying. Instead, he’s opted to pick up the pieces and fold the band’s template into his own individual banner. It’s tempting to say that the intervening years have given him time to reflect and refine his perspective, but it may be that now, unencumbered by the trappings of the group and the Grandaddy moniker, he’s free to simplify his style and focus on more melodic trappings. Indeed, it’s to Lytle’s credit that he hasn’t reversed course entirely or wholly abandoned his earlier motif, but instead narrowed his parameters and increased the music’s accessibility in the process.

Jason Lytle

Then again, Lytle has distanced himself from Grandaddy’s ethereal intents entirely. Suffice it to say that this entire album is cloaked in a surreal atmospheric ambiance that can be uplifting and expressive one moment, cerebral and contemplative the next. The hopeful anticipation of "It’s the Weekend" may mirror the liberated sentiments of, say, the Easybeats’ "Friday on My Mind," but the exultation and exuberance never come close. The winsome perspective found in the title track and the orchestral embellishment of "I Am Lost (And the Moment Cannot Last)" at first seem to soar with unfettered optimism, but there’s also a sense of sadness that intersects those feelings. The album’s loveliest moments – found within such songs as "Flying Thru Canyons," "Rollin’ Home Alone," and "Ghost of My Old Dog" – offer hope of finding fulfillment but never clinch the conviction that the promise will be realized completely. In the album’s opening lines, Lytle lays out his premise: "I may be limping, but I’m coming home." Indeed, there’s a low-lit subterfuge that keeps these ambitions in check.

Regardless, Lytle’s big ambitions also shine through, courtesy of arrangements that glow under a symphonic sheen and a hint of wistful reflection that ensure an upward view. Grandaddy may be gone, but Lytle’s ensuring their legacy will linger on.

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