Having retired his band Grandaddy, Jason Lytle is now launching a solo career with his distinctive voice and apocalyptic preoccupations intact. His solo debut, Yours Truly, The Commuter, opens with the title track, which lays his high, nasal whisper over rickety percussion and burbling synths, evoking the feeling of a high-tech aircraft sputtering in for a landing. It’s unmistakably a Lytle song, from the mix of the futuristic and the rusty to the way Lytle sings like a lonely cowboy, lost in time. But Yours Truly, The Commuter only hits the highs of its opener sporadically, on tracks like the loping “Rollin’ Home Alone” and the dreamy “This Song Is The Mute Button” (which begins with a burst of cacophony designed to make listeners wonder whether some web ad has suddenly popped up). More often, Lytle settles for repetitive mood-setters that merely re-shuffle the elements he’s been working with for more than a decade now, with no discernible progress or mastery.
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