Like Grandaddy, the rather amorphous outfit he once led, Jason
Lytle’s solo excursions express a bewildering mix of emotions. Dept.
of Disappearance, his sophomore set, muddies the waters as much as before,
the forlorn sentiments bundled with atmospheric effects and electronica creating
a contradictory statement of intent. Then again, Lytle was always a reluctant
leader, never confident in the role of rock star, an introspective individual
more at home in the hinterlands than stalking the stage.
Dept. of Disappearance reflects
those tangled emotions, and though the cerebral sensibilities and celestial
trappings up the ante on ambiance, Lytle’s high lonesome vocals convey the
yearning and desire of a man hoping to reconcile his ambitions. At times
however, the album’s confessional tone morphs into a message of self-assurance.
“Everything’s going to be fine/You can do it/Everything’s going to be alright,”
he croons on “Get Up and Go,” one of the album’s more emotional entreaties.
Likewise, “Last Problem of the Alps” and
“Young Saints” soar on the strength of their searing refrains, each an anthem
that creates an epic effect. That may be Lytle’s chief distinction, the ability
to meld conviction with contemplation.
Up and Go,” “Last Problem of the Alps,” “Young
Saints” -LEE ZIMMERMAN