The fifth installment to Grandaddy’s ten-year reign is their final; the band announced their disbandment earlier this year. Ranging from punk to electronic to untreated, the fifteen tracks on Just Like The Fambly Cat provide the diversity that Sumday, their previous, lacked. The album title is iconic of the band’s demise; the family cat has left the building.What Happened, the introduction, is merely sound bytes of a child asking, “What happened to the fambly cat.” The album impels with the rockin’ “Jeez Louise.” A side effect to their full sound, the instrumentation resembles a drone, with the vocals providing the only color.
Grandaddy thrives on a good ballad, and Cat has plenty to spare. An honest and fitting “Summer…It’s Gone” features vocalist Jason Lytle singing, “Summer, its gone, and I don’t know/Where everyone went, or where I’ll go.” Just as you’re ready to shut off the repetitive hooks of “Rear View Mirror” and “The Animal World,” a dynamic evolution occurs; a reminder to Grandaddy’s simplistic nature. “Campershire Dreams” and “Guide Down Denied” are light and sincere, although the latter is entirely too long.
Cat‘s charm is in its mockery. “Skateboarding Saves Me Twice” is an instrumental piece built upon a kitschy riff that hardly builds or modulates, while “Disconnecty” is its lyrical counterpart. The punk rock “50%” highlights a perfectly harmonized refrain, “fifty percent less words,” while the pop perfection of “Where I’m Anymore” highlights the chorus, “Meow Meow Meow Meow Meow/ Where I’m anymore.” They’re hokey and trite, yet altogether enjoyable.
Broken chords lay the foundation to the presaging conclusion, “Shangri-La (Outro),” with operatic voices singing, “I’ll never return.” Grandaddy has left on the perfect note.