Just Like the Fambly Cat (V2 Records)

No one did modern anxiety and ennui like Grandaddy. Just Like the Fambly Cat, the California band's swan song, recaptures the melancholic magic of Grandaddy's 2000 masterpiece, The Sophtware Slump: in short, punchy rockers and six-minute space-pop epics. Together they offer an unflinching yet musically uplifting tour of the soulless office parks, faceless subdivisions, and technological alienation of America's suburban wastelands.

"Disconnect" and "Guide Down Denied" examine the disconnect between technology and man, while "Summer . . . It's Gone," "Skateboarding Saves Me Twice," and "Rear View Mirror" are nostalgic reminders of the escape that youth once promised. The record's emotional centerpiece, "Where I'm Anymore," is chock-full of the suburban detritus that Jason Lytle excels at animating: broken-down exercise bikes, garage-sale Sundays, oil-stained driveways, and yellow lawns, none of which affords a sense of place.

With its wistful melody, bubbling synths, layered guitars, and "meow-meow" harmonies, the song is Grandaddy's crowning achievement: playful, sad, panoramic, and intimate all at once. As farewells go, Just Like the Fambly Cat is a stone-cold -- but heartwarming -- classic.

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