Hailing from little ol’ Glendale, California, the Henry Clay people return with their third full-length album, Somewhere on the Golden Coast. Though I’ve listened to all their albums, I’ve only begun to do so the past few weeks. And with the ultimate goal of making music because “making music is fun, especially with your friends” (according to the bio on their MySpace page), you can tell that this foursome has tons of fun.
While their debut, Blacklist the Kid with the Red Moustache, reminded me of a more toned-down style of the erratic play of drmanhattan, their follow-up, For Cheap or for Free, fused a great amount of country influences. Neither album is spectacular but they both remain good listens. The band keeps the formula pretty much the same here with their latest, and that includes the lack of that special “something” that makes them stand apart from the rest.
Somewhere on the Golden Coast eases off a bit on the country, but it is still there. You can hear this with “Working Part-Time,” a song that also made an appearance on For Cheap or for Free. In this highlight (of both albums), the twangy lead guitar meshes well with the lightly distorted heavy strums of the backing guitars. The drum beat is simple but adds so much by keeping it upbeat for these great lyrics on just being a kid: “We were working part time all the time/We were begging on kindness of strangers and loved ones and those that fall between/To give us everything we need, cuz we need everything…I was fine, I was broke but still alive/I was fine/We got drunk and called-in sick when we felt like it.”
The beautiful chords on the slightly echoed guitar, the tambourine and the organ that graces “The Digital Kid” make this track a light track and another highlight on Golden Coast. It starts off very peaceful and even the lead singer’s voice sounds a bit more subdued. After the slow solo, the drums kick in, giving the song a bit of a stronger presence without losing that graceful sound.
“Saturday Night” is another slow starter that starts with the guitars nearly at a crawl. The chorus is the best part of the song because of the diddling piano and country guitars. This song totally makes you picture a dusty saloon in the Old West because of that upbeat piano!
As I said before, Somewhere on the Golden Coast isn’t anything spectacular. There is hardly any variation from the songs, aside from subtle country-influenced outbursts here and there. But as I also said before, you can tell that this band has fun when doing what they do. With youthful attitudes and unflashy workmanship, this latest attempt is nothing more than a good listen with good intentions.
Bonus Track: “Your Famous Friends”
Buy the album at our record store on Amazon
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