Grandaddy - Under the Western Freeway

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2006-07-01

They claim that their favourite band is ELO, but you wouldn't know it to hear Grandaddy's first full-length album. Indeed, it's only the Californian quintet's beards that suggest any kinship with 1970's pomp-rock. On the evidence of Under The Western Freeway, there's very little worth doing in music that Sebadoh, Pavement and Pixies haven't already done between them. Some people may remember surprise radio hit "AM180", a jaunty clattering exercise in raucous fuzz pop. In its way, it's a typical Grandaddy song: lyrics whose downcast nature you wouldn't notice thanks to his colleagues' freewheeling clatter; and the unmistakeable sound of a band who can't see the point of a studio when you've, like, got a house. And because tracks like "Laughing Stock" and "Collective Dreamwish Of Upperclass Elegance" are stuffed with hooks so big you could pull down the Eiffel Tower with them, you'll forgive them anything. Which is just as well, because those really are terrible beards. --Peter Paphides

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