Much has changed in Jason Lytle's life since 2005: Grandaddy, his critically acclaimed indie rock band, broke up; he left his hometown of Modesto, CA, for the mountains of Arizona; and he's struggled with substance abuse problems. Despite all that, his music has remained the same - exactly the same - although this solo debut fixates less on feeling isolated in a high-tech world than on nostalgia for the past.
Here's the problem: during Lytle's music-industry hiatus, bands like Bon Iver and Chad VanGaalen have freshened up the soft-sung isolationist alt-folk genre - Lytle's forte - leaving this new material sounding like old news. The tunes remain pleasantly unhurried, lush and laid-back but fail to stimulate. His small, fragile voice now seems slightly whiny and affected. When he sings, "I may be limping / but I'm coming home" on the title track, you feel like asking him to quit the melodrama (and wheel-spinning) already.
Top track: Birds Encouraged Him