Concrete Dunes

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Essentially an expanded version of the odds-and-sods EP Broken Down Comforter Collection, Concrete Dunes collects Grandaddy's mid- to late-'90s rarities and B-sides. Though the track listing is slightly odd, putting early tracks like "Pre Merced" toward the collection's end, the album is still a pretty good overview of Grandaddy's evolution from shambling, fuzzed-out indie rock to the more ambitious, spacy sound of their later work. Standouts include the static-laden ballad "12-PAK-599"; "For the Dishwasher," a polished, richly textured track that's as good as anything on Grandaddy's albums; the surprisingly snarky "Kim You Bore Me to Death"; and "Wretched Songs," which mixes the group's noisy and introspective sides into a sweeping epic. Still, most of Concrete Dunes' material was originally rare for a reason -- many of the tracks feel somewhat underdeveloped. Grandaddy has such a knack for crafting heartbroken-yet-experimental music that the band could churn it out in their sleep, and pretty but unremarkable songs like "My Small Love" and "Gentle Spike Resort" do feel like they were written on autopilot. Fans who don't already own Broken Down Comforter Collection and can't wait for the follow-up to Sophtware Slump should find Concrete Dunes a worthwhile way to get a Grandaddy fix.

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