Yours Truly, the Commuter is a solo album in the truest sense of the word. Former Grandaddy frontman Jason Lytle played all of the instruments on this debut disc, written and recorded in his adopted home of Bozeman, Montana. Based on the evidence here, moving to small-town America hasn’t done much to improve his mood, since the album is heavy on weighty ballads and wounded, sorrowful lyrics. “I may be limping, but I’m coming home,” Lytle sings on the title track; I’m not sure exactly what injury he’s referring to, but I’m guessing he’s not talking about his leg.
Lytle sings in a thin, nasal drawl—it’s not unpleasant to listen to, but it has a tendency to sound a little weak when paired with muscular arrangements, such as on the fuzzed-out “It’s the Weekend.” His voice fairs better on the sombre acoustic numbers, especially when fleshed out with lush harmonies and subtle electronic flourishes. There are echoes of Elliott Smith in the heartbreaking “I Am Lost (and the Moment Cannot Last),” a reverb-soaked piano waltz with ghostly backing vocals and a wall of synth strings. As is the case on much of Yours Truly, the Commuter, the pathos is laid on a little thick, but the lush instrumentation and sharp melodies prevent it from ever sounding too bleak.