Thursday, June 28, 2012

Henry Clay People Turn Up 25 Again

The Henry Clay People haven't hit the decade mark and they already want to turn back the dial. Their newest album, Twenty-Five For The Rest Of Our Lives, breaks from some of the progression heard in This Is A Desert EP and strips a few layers of wear and tear on themselves and maybe rock 'n roll too.

“We wanted to finally make the record that our 16-year-old selves would have been excited about,” says frontman Joey Siara. “Unfortunately, the only way to do so was to live for the last 13 years and get some adult suffering under our belt. Now we can direct our misguided teenage angst at our failed 20s.”

They ought to have done it sooner. Twenty-Five For The Rest Of Our Lives is a rollicking collection of impeccably composed arrangements with the most reflective lyrics of Siara's career. Their 16-year-old selves ought to be proud of their somewhat wiser and slightly pissier 20-something versions, at least as seen by their almost 30-something selves.

There is an honesty in the music that hasn't been heard for awhile, with punk influences as pure as they were in the 80s. It's honest too because the band didn't play test it. It was a album already germinating in Siara's head about the same time the band released Somewhere On The Golden Coast.

Twenty-Five For The Rest Of Our Lives revs up with rock's punk mistress.

After a short, spooky, regret-soaked aged analog introduction, the album breaks into the title track, 25 For The Rest Of Our Lives. The scrappy garage rock track laments the loss of youth without doing enough of anything to prevent it despite all those boasts that they might be different. It celebrates the presumptuousness of it, right before waking up to find you're exactly where you didn't want to be.

The Fakers follows up with the same reflective angst, only angrier. In some ways it captures how Siara felt about the Golden Coast, the album he says made him bored and lazy. The punkness of the song pushes the limits of what can be set down under two minutes as caught by jaminthevan, one of our favorite music sites.

The clip is grittier than the album cut, but no less poignant. And from there, the album only gets better. Hide rails against the idea of giving up dreams to do the sensible thing, only to discover there are no guarantees on that career track either. Somber and sobering, kids do what they're told only to move back home.

EveryBandWeEverLoved doesn't pull punches either. Even those who have a brush with success are destined to sell out or break up. The Backseat Of A Cab has poppy undertones until you hear the words about ephedrine medicated blissfulness in with lines about loneliness that come after all those carefree moments with those people you forget. Living Rooms, too, feels lonely in a different way; lives lived with the people we keep but just as lonely.

Friends Are Forgiving and Anymore, Any Less are both touching in their resignation over what people lose along the way. As you grow older, friends who were friends for life become friends you forget because they can't keep up so they give up. The other speaks candidly about how we look back and put more importance on past relationships that never existed.

None of them necessarily sounds sad with the Henry Clay People's amped up guitars and hammered bass lines. But as the album restarts after the first few passes, expect some recognition that this is a transformative album about how angry we are about losing our youth until we realize there's no point to being angry.

Twenty-Five For The Rest Of Our Lives Stings 9.1 On The liquid Hip Richter Scale.

As a snapshot, Twenty-Five For The Rest Of Our Lives by the Henry Clay People might have been good enough. But instead, Siara, his brother, and the balance of the band record it all as a memoir trapped in a time capsule and covering various bits and pieces of attitude from every album and the bands they loved at the same time. This is great rock 'n roll, tinged and tangled up with punk.

Twenty-Five For The Rest Of Our Lives by the Henry Clay People is available on iTunes. You can also pick up the album from Amazon or order it on vinyl from Barnes & Noble. It's worth the download in entirety (which includes the bonus track Calling Free), a real gem put out by TDB Records and the most promising set for live shows yet. The album is the kind you'll eventually sing along to. If not now, a few years from now.
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