The 2021 solo piano and vocal version of Grandaddy's classic 2000 album The Sophtware Slump.
Twenty years ago Jason Lytle made this ageless record while red-eyed and running around a sweltering slipshod home studio in his boxers using some gear he planned to return to Best Buy as soon as he was done. For this new, piano-centric The Sophtware Slump, Lytle traveled around Los Angeles, sourcing studios and pianos like a master chef selects foods from a farmer’s market. He identified three instruments and three studios that would suffice. Everything was in place.
As with many best-laid plans, his were scuttled. In this case by a pandemic. So two decades after making a DIY masterpiece, Lytle found himself recording those songs again, sweating in his apartment again, trying to create a controlled environment while surrounded by chaos.
The songs’ skeletons are the same, but the bones dance differently. Slower songs like Undearneath the Weeping Willow make a natural transition to this sparer presentation. Greater revelations occur with the once louder songs like The Crystal Lake and Chartsengrafs. The effect at times is that of unfolding an origami dinosaur and refashioning it into a swan. The album’s sharp melodic sense isn’t dampened at all, but the words step forward, which only enhances the aspirational lift at album’s end, about aiming toward the sky. Lytle only allowed his air conditioner to hum over one song. Fittingly it’s Broken Household Appliance National Forest.