The Henry Clay People: Somewhere on the Golden Coast

RIYL: Pavement, The Hold Steady, The Replacements

The Henry Clay People are busting out of LA’s famous Eagle Rock/Echo Park/Silverlake scene and they’re bringing a timely update to a familiar alt-indie, guitar-driven sound. The band’s ragged guitars will recall Pavement for some, though the vocals often bring a more energetic vibe. The album is also filled with zeitgeist lyrics that will resonate to many here in the Great Recession of the 21st century.

The opening duo of “Nobody Taught Us to Quit” and ”Working Part Time” establishes a high energy ’90s type of influence, but leaning toward the indie side of things rather than psychedelic grunge. The band is busting out loud guitars, simple yet infectious riffage and earnest vocals that add up to a compelling vibe. The latter tune features one of the best lines of the year with “We got drunk and called in sick,” instantly establishing this band as a bunch of guys that could be your drinking pals instead of some pretentious rock stars.

“Digital Kid” brings an endearing melodic slacker theme, while “Slow Burn” somewhat recalls a Neil Young & Crazy Horse sound with guitar solos that are only a few notes but which still sing out. “End of an Empire” blends a ’90s alt-rock with some ’50s rockabilly for a unique vibe, while “This Ain’t a Scene” is an anthem for the aughts – a mid-tempo number that gets deep and melodic, with some great lyrics about “ a generation caught in between… we won’t settle down until we’ve seen everything we paid to see.” “Two Lives at the End of the Night” closes the album out with a beautiful ballad about a relationship gone wrong – “I would pay to hear you say I’d never never make the same mistake.”

There’s definitely something deeper going on with the lyrics on this album. The band knows how to rock too, but can mix up the moods. It all seems to promise a bright future for the Henry Clay People. (TBD Records 2010)

Henry Clay People MySpace page