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Once upon a time, Jason Lytle wrote songs, sang and played instruments in a very good band called Grandaddy. When he got clean in 2005, the band broke up, leaving behind a legacy of great alt-rock albums about robots, depression, teenage romance and national parks. Yours Truly, the Commuter, Lytle’s solo debut, picks up pretty much exactly where Grandaddy left off. Well-strummed guitars, piano ballads (see the melancholy waltz, This Song is the Mute Button), poppy monophonic synths and atmospheric string pads are all present and accounted for. But gone are the tight, pop-rock numbers like Crystal Lake or Hewlett’s Daughter – instead we get the washy fuzz-pop of It’s the Weekend and Brand New Sun. There’s a slight folky-Beatles turn too, Lytle showing some debt to Elliott Smith with songs like Rollin’ Home Alone and You’re Too Gone. The songs don’t have the same whacked-out irony – Lytle seems to be going more sincere, more heartfelt – but they’re all still sung in his strained Neil Young whisper, and it’s got the same Cali-slacker feel Grandaddy were known for. No surprises, then, if you’ve heard Lytle’s work before, but there are some gems here, especially late on the album, and a couple of really good pop songs – fine comfort for the early morning commute.

***1/2