(Artwork care of Karen Ramsay (www.karenramsay.com), profile photo care of brianlackeyphotography.com)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

CD review - The Henry Clay People, Somewhere on the Golden Coast (2010)

With a taste of Cheap Trick crossed with Green Day, The Henry Clay People could be dismissed as just another group of snotty boys with guitars. Listening closer, though, their skill and scope go beyond this simple assessment.

Somewhere on the Golden Coast manages to impress in the first three songs, which loosely feed into one another. Nobody Taught Us To Quit ends sharply with a brief pause that makes the start of Working Part Time sound like a continuation. "We were working part time, all the time." The lyrics are clever during this anthemic assessment of living at the bottom of the economic food chain. The last line reprises an earlier bit of the chorus, which then sets up a rhyme with the first line of Keep Your Eyes Closed:
We got drunk and called in sick We got drunk and called in sick... (Working Part Time) You fell in love and you fell like a brick... (Keep Your Eyes Closed)
Sure, it may all be coincidence, but it sounds like The Henry Clay People have a bigger arc than simple indie pop songs with a classic rock edge.

The peak comes with the caffeinated Freebird lead intro of Slow Burn. The driving beat anchors a catchy tune. This is where the Green Day sound stands out, especially during the lead. They throw in some dynamics to emphasize the earnest lyrics, too. All nice touches.

This feeds smoothly into the rocker, End Of An Empire, which sounds a lot like Dramarama's take on the Stones' classic, Message From Turner. They keep the slide and slinky lead and layer on some honky tonk piano. It's high energy and low art...it's only rock and roll.

The other songs on Somewhere on the Golden Coast are more than filler -- some Wilco noise, a bit of Too Much Joy, and a nice tip of the hat to Ian Hunter's Mott the Hoople on Your Famous Friends. It's bracing and fun.

I'll be catching their live show in a week or so. We'll see how they compare, but I'm expecting a great time. For the time being, I'd say a Meyer's rum and Coke would feel good about now.

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