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New York Cool - Music

Henry Clay People's
Somewhere on the Golden Coast
LP Review

Written by Morgan G. Long

Listening to The Henry Clay People’s new album Somewhere On the Golden Coast, there’s automatically an eerie sense you have heard them somewhere before. Looking through a music library, they sound like music as diverse as The New York Dolls, Bright Eyes, The Rolling Stones, and The Faint. The music possesses some of that unforgiving, youthful, and foundational fast paced guitar of early punk and rock n’ roll bands. This is reflected in songs such as “Slow Burn” and “Your Famous Friends.” However, The Henry Clay People are also reminiscent of today’s generation with cynical undertones in the lyrics about an uncertain future. This culture of fear of technology can be seen in lyrics such as “the digital kid…but before we disappear, he said I am the future that you fear.” There is not one band in a person’s music library to characterize The Henry Clay People because the band is a quilt of multiple generations of music.

The Henry Clay People have done their fair share of touring but have only been around since 2005. The guitarists and singers are brothers- Joey and Andy. The band has a typical line-up except that Joey, Andy, Jonathan, and Jordan all contribute their vocals to the music. The only one who doesn’t sing in the band is the drummer Eric. With a range of voices, talented musicians, and blood ties, the Henry Clay People were bound to come out with an innovative album after growing as a band for five years.

“Keep Your Eyes Closed” is one of the catchier songs on the album. It stands out from the other songs because of its blunt honesty. Opening with “you fell in love and you fell like a brick,” the lyrics frankness mirrors the way it’s received by the audience. The song doesn’t slowly build to a climax, but rather is unexpected just the way love is. The chorus is “keep your eyes closed, tight, tight, tight, tight, tight,” which again conveys a fear of the future. The song speaks to everyone who has had an innocent summer fling and is not willing to let go of it yet.
There are also songs that are so distinct they could be on separate albums. “Your Famous Friends,” has rapid guitar and drums, which reflect older rock n’ roll and punk songs. It also clings to an optimism of an older generations’ that loved talking about running without caution towards a dream. On the other hand, there is a song such as “This Ain’t a Scene,” with lyrics such as “this ain’t a scene, its just a generation caught in between.” The song’s rhyming is off and it seems contrived. It is almost immature compared to their other songs with the guitar solos overpowering the weak lyrics. However, “This Ain’t a Scene,” is an exception, most of the songs are a masterful recipe of different experiences from diverse times.

Some things in life seem to be timeless such as heartbreak, working, or falling in love, and music is always better when it’s relatable. Through braiding different musical influences, maybe we can learn we aren’t actually that different from our parents. Maybe uncertainty, fear, and angst are also a part of our parents’ generation (after all they grew up during The Cold War). Although optimism seems like an extinct outlook for many artists, there still are people that have hope today. In conclusion, Somewhere On the Golden Coast engages the listener in an experience that transcends time, which leads to an enjoyable, epic music journey.

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