Give Jason Lytle credit for consistency: throughout his first solo album since the 2006 break-up of his long-running indie-rock outfit Grandaddy, he clings to the syrupy space-folk sound he pioneered on such self-consciously widescreen epics as The Sophtware Slump, Grandaddy's wryly titled 2000 peak.
In a scene overwhelmed by guys whose idea of an artistic sensibility is a Best New Music prize from Pitchfork, here's a man with an instantly identifiable æsthetic. Too bad that æsthetic is becoming kind of a chore to endure.
Inspired, we're told, by his move from the vast openness of rural Northern California to the vast openness of rural Montana, Yours Truly, the Commuter offers up plenty of the dreamy vocal melodies and vintage-keyboard fuzz Lytle is known for, but with none of the whimsy or wonder of his best stuff. The music simply crawls by in a maddeningly static mid-tempo blur, going about its melancholy business on the way to nowhere.
That might be Lytle's theme here — he's always been obsessed with notions of futility and obsolescence. If so, dude's gotten better at his job than he needs to be.