Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Shawn Biggs at Studio Paradiso, San Francisco, California
The song entitled "Interlude," that Jason Lytle performs on this session sounds like a signal that's coming in from outer space. It has the fuzzed and truncated, nearly emotionless cadence of an astronaut - someone like John Glenn or Neil Armstrong - radioing into mission control with a progress report. They're to describe what their virgin eyes are seeing, detailing if everything seems to be going smoothly up there, while everyone down here is wringing his or her hands with stress and nightmare scenarios. It sounds fine until the astronaut-like person starts dropping in some cusses.
He talks about something that's mostly unintelligible on the recording, by saying, "You wouldn't fucking believe it." It could just be that he got a wire from home telling him that his wife was pregnant with another man's baby. We can't really discern what the actual problem is, but a few more seconds go by, some more words and then the person we're calling an astronaut says, with considerable more emotion, "Holy mother of fuck!" and we'd really like to know what the problem could be. But Lytle, who's playing a nimble, albeit tame and chill piano line overtop of this correspondence, fades out and the number is over before we get any kind of closure. It could just be that what we hear as the premature end of the transmission is as much closure as we're ever entitled to. It's just all there is.
Lytle, the lead singer of the beloved indie band Grandaddy, puts a little more closure into the songs he writes, but he did choose to sandwich this weird and profane transmission between some of those songs and it seems that one could infer some of this trauma within the structure of his own lilting stories of sad domesticity and love. One could hear these stories tailing off, retiring to the last ringing note and confidently believe that the man who sang those words might follow up with a "Holy mother of fuck," once everything had properly set in.
He's no dummy. He knows what's been done and where he stands. This doesn't look good. Lytle sings, "I see the pretty in things/But you disappeared like a dream." He sings the words as if they were dream-like, as if there was a huge glob of beauty right there in that distressing sentiment. He comes as close to describing the feeling as he can, singing, "I wish I could laugh now, but I'll never see you again," once again adding insult to injury, while still delivering it all with an ice pack, a bandage, a peck on the cheek and a long, final hug goodbye.
Jason Lytle Official Site
Jason Lytle on tour with Band of Horses
Jason's new album 'Dept of Disappearance' is out now