“Blu Wav” – Grandaddy Album Review

Written by on February 24, 2024

Review by Emily Piccola

Grandaddy, an indie rock band hailing from Modesto, California, just released their sixth studio album on February 16, 2024 titled Blu Wav. Grandaddy formed in 1992, releasing Under The Western Freeway (1997) and The Sophtware Slump (2000) along with many other cassettes and combinations before their split in 2006 to focus on solo careers.

They reunited in 2012 to tour and focused on albums briefly before the passing of the band’s bassist, Kevin Garcia in 2017. Since then, they have only re-released an earlier album, but Blu Wav is their first new album following Garcia’s passing and was a highly anticipated album amongst the band’s following.

Blu Wav is a softer indie-rock concept album inspired by the psychedelia of the 60s and 70s and by bluegrass and country/folk, with the use of slide guitar. With dreamy chord progressions, an ethereal vibe, and smooth vocals, Blu Wav flows from start to finish. We start with the album’s title track, which is a short ballad where the vocalist tells the listener, “Open your eyes and your laptop / To the sunrise.” This song is a great start to the album, setting the soft rock tone, with acoustic guitar, simplistic vocals,  background guitar licks and soft drone chords.

We then are greeted with a dreamy “Cabin In My Mind,” mildly reminiscent of The Beatles’ Abbey Road, with the vocal harmonies and guitar licks, yet with a modern twist with the synths in the background. In this song, the vocalist discusses returning to a safe space in their mind, and finding comfort during a difficult time in their life.

“Long As I’m Not The One” is a breakup ballad where the vocalist admits to still having feelings for their ex-partner, and saying to them, “You’ve got a hold of my heart / And I don’t think I wanna fight it.”

 “You’re Going to Be Fine and I’m Going to Hell” is a continuation of the prior breakup ballad, where the vocalist discusses how the said breakup is now going well for them, though their ex-partner seems to be doing just fine.

The next track is “Watercooler,” a single that preceded the album, where the vocalist continues to discuss their ex-partner, noting they are continuing to do the same things normally as they would prior to their breakup. This song is arguably the most mellow track on the album, and also my personal favorite.

“Let’s Put This Pinto On The Moon” is an aptly-named instrumental (with some vocals here and there) that reminds me of space.

“On A Train or Bus” is another reflection from the vocalist about a bus ride shared with their ex-partner that brought them closer together. This is another super mellow track and another one of my favorites. “I hope you know it’s true / I still love you / And I always will.” Yet again, these lyrics emphasize the main theme of the album: a seemingly unrequited love story between the vocalist and their ex-partner.

We move into the contrasting “Jukebox App,” where the vocalist discusses where they went to the favorite bar of them and their partner, where they sit in the parking lot while their ex-partner and their new partner are drinking together inside the bar.

“Yeehaw Ai in the Year 2025” is an instrumental piano track with ambient noise in the background, which shifts into an instrumental drone with electronic sounds over it.

In “Ducky, Boris and Dart,” the vocalist discusses the times when they rescued animals in need, and how it gave them a semblance of companionship, where in reality they were alone the whole time. “For a short and sweet time, I wasn’t alone.” We hear a repeated phrase, “Well thank you my friend / But this ain’t the end/We will meet again.” To me, this represents the vocalist helping out for the greater good, and saying how it will help them in the future.

“East Yosemite” features the vocalist discussing where they carved their and their ex-partner’s names into a tree and how they slept next to a waterfall, and if anyone found out, they would be imprisoned. I think this shows another sub concept of the album, how they would truly do anything for their ex-partner out of love.

Next is “Nothin’ To Lose,” which is supposed to represent the future of “what’s to come” from Grandaddy, to show the listeners what to expect from future albums or projects from them.

Finally, the album closes out with “Blu Wav Buh Bye,” a piano track with some moderate effects on the piano (minor pitch alterations).

Overall, I thought this album was fantastic. While it’s a bit different from what I typically listen to, I would recommend this to any enjoyers of indie rock. I love that Grandaddy incorporates more themes of bluegrass (which combined with the psychedelia-influenced use of synthesizers and drones, was an unexpected yet awesome combination, in my opinion) which is not typical for their sound. I would definitely listen to this again and really enjoyed it!


Featured Image from Amazon.