The repeated mantra at the end of the opening track from Grandaddy's The Sophtware Slump goes like this: "You're giving in, 2000 Man." It goes on for what seems like an eternity — 30 whole seconds! — until lead singer Jason Lytle finally breaks out of his reverie and urges "2000 Man" not to give up. This struggle between man and progress is the major theme that runs throughout Slump, as Lytle makes his way through broken household appliance national forests, drunk robots and a host of confusing chartsengrafs.
But as depressing as the subject matter gets, hope peeks out of Slump every now and again. "The Crystal Lake" may be the group's finest moment, gluing together heavy rhythm guitars, Lytle's ever-present whine and a ramshackle oscillating synthesizer that seems to have been turned on and forgotten about. The same goes for "Hewlett's Daughter." Sure, the drums plod along like a drunken robot, but the opening hook is an undeniable one: "Hewlett's daughter/ Loved her father/ And I think she/ Loved me too…for a little while."
Let's face it, though, Grandaddy is a pretty depressing band. Technology is always winning in this battle, whether it's in the sad tale of Jed, the forgotten robot, or the tinkling piano ballad "Underneath the Weeping Willow." On Slump, Lytle sounds like the American Thom Yorke — a whiny prophet that you want to hug as much as you want to punch. Luckily, with his excellent and ambitious backing band in tow, this is more Kid A than Pablo Honey.