By New Times
By Derek Askey
By Mark Deming
By Serene Dominic
By Jason Keil
By Robrt L. Pela and Amy Silverman
By Jeff Moses
By Serene Dominic
Fairchild credits Modesto with being a force in the band's development, saying dejectedly, "There isn't much else to do." Four of the members went to the same high school, and the current incarnation of the band has existed for more than eight years. Given Modesto's limited entertainment options, they've gotten to know each other pretty well. So well, in fact, Fairchild reckons, that "we've begun to take on each other's mannerisms."
While an important crucible for their discontent, the town receives little quarter in Grandaddy's caustic hometown once-over, "Stray Dog and the Chocolate Shake." Lytle slyly notes how the "supervisor guy turns out the lights so the robots have to work in the dark," while outside "there's a carload of kids with cigarettes and beer burning out and doing odd jobs in the park." The travelogue ends with a "high school football coach sitting on the couch with a toothpick in his mouth, and the stray dog won't forget the day he tricked him with a chocolate shake."
"That's definitely us," laughs Fairchild when questioned. "We've always felt like outsiders there. Sort of us against the world. That's a real big inspiration, because it can be a pretty sad, depressing, sort of pathetic place to live."
Not that they always get along together. Familiarity has been known to breed contempt, and at the most recent show in Chicago, opening for Pete Yorn, they began their set with an anarchic little tune called "play whatever you want for about six minutes."
"The anger and frustration that had been mounting reared its head horribly during this and consequently seems to have signaled some kind of defining release. Hopefully it won't have to be played again," Fairchild reported recently on the band's Web site.
Such news is foreboding, given rumors that have circulated in the past few months that this might be the band's last album together. It would be a shame, as Sumday truly is the band's best work to date -- "by a long shot," as Fairchild says. However, if a band has to hang it up, there couldn't be a better way to go out than Sumday, which finds Grandaddy at the height of its powers, fashioning lush, stunning songs that negotiate heartbreak and loneliness, securing peace of mind in the settlement.