Though Jason Lytle seems to be getting most of the post-Grandaddy press, former Grandaddy guitarist (and Portland transplant) Jim Fairchild's been making great solo music of his own under the moniker All Smiles, and his second solo album, Oh For The Getting and Not Letting Go, came out today. While it certainly hasn't passed by unnoticed, it also hasn't received the same level of media attention as his former bandmate's recent release. Fairchild's first solo record, 2007's Ten Readings Of A Warning, was a sparse, elemental example of what you can accomplish with straightforward pop songwriting-- i.e. guitar-voice-percussion. Songs like "I Know It's Wrong" and "Pile of Burning Leaves" are the kind of perfectly simple song that sticks to your ribs and ride on little more than a perfectly-tailored pop refrain and the emotive power of a vocalist who believes the words he sings.
But Fairchild's sophomore effort, Oh For The Getting and Not Letting Go, gets a lot more adventurous with the instrumentals. Distortion, heavier rock guitar riffs and louder, more aggressive percussion pervade this record. At times, the volume and all the extra accoutrements sometimes distract from what Fairchild's really good at: finding a really memorable melody and serving it simply. While it's not that the bigger sound doesn't work for Fairchild, it's still his quieter, simpler songs-- of the sort he favored on Ten Readings of a Warning-- that showcase his talents best.