The Henry Clay People - Twenty-Five for the Rest of Our Lives
Record Label: TBD Records
Release Date: June 26, 2012
The world is full of "fun" bands, bands whose motivations are pretty much to get fists pumping, feet moving and voices singing or shouting along. The Henry Clay People are most definitely one of them, but their working-class image and populist anthems about having good times in spite of being mired in a sea of shit give them a unique kind of post-recession resonance. Their new album Twenty-Five for the Rest of Our Lives offers up some more beer-spattered tunes tailor-made for Friday and Saturday nights, but also provides a glimpse of a band with an evolving worldview. Some might call it a quarterlife crisis, others just "growing up." Either way, frontman Joey Siara's observations reflect an increasingly pervasive and surprisingly under-documented phenomenon: the arrested development of this generation's twenty- and thirty-somethings.
"I don't want to turn twenty-five for the rest of our lives and spend the rest of our lives eating off the ground," Siara opens the album's title track. It's as though he's looked in the mirror and come to the realization that, at some point, grasping at youth becomes something less than admirable and that living the collegiate lifestyle for too long is unsustainable or just plain pathetic. He's 30 this year; I'll be 31 before 2012 is out, and I find myself making similar considerations. I feel like this perception of "twenty-five" as being sort of "a kid" is novel, a product of changing times. I think of something like the provision in the Affordable Care Act allowing individuals to remain on their parents' insurance until age twenty-six and can almost hear my conservative-leaning dad (and probably many men his age) saying, "I was on my own for ten years by that age. Where's the sense of personal responsibility these days?" But clearly, our circumstances aren't nearly the same. On "Hide", Siara sings, "We went to school, 'cause we do what we're told, and we found some jobs and paid off our loans. And we lost our jobs so let your parents know that you'll be moving home." He's nothing if not direct, but sometimes truth-telling that leaves little to interpretation is fresh and exactly what we need.
Musically, these are the same old Henry Clay People, with as much raucous energy crammed into these songs as ever. Their fizzy, punk-infused indie-rock style is a well-blazed trail, both by predecessors as well as the band themselves, but one listen to Twenty-Five for the Rest of Our Lives is a clear indicator that two- and three- minute shout-alongs are something that just never go out of style when done right. And The Henry Clay People have an uncanny ability to make it seem like their albums, in all their plainspoken, unpretentious glory, are coming out at just the right time. Their stories are our evolving stories, except maybe a little more optimistic. Their latest is yet another gem that you could spin for a room full of the most down-on-their-luck sad-sacks and get them all high-fiving.
I saw these guys live for the second time when they opened for Motion City and my main thought was, as it was the first time, I'm not sure if those two brothers are really fucked up or just really weird.
I also saw them open for MCS and feel this band to be sorta meh. I mean I love that they have energy and play wild rock cause they want to. They have passion but something just feels off about their music. I could not really get into or follow it. I liked the first opener, The Front Bottoms a lot more.
Actually I don't consider the sound on this record to be the same. I miss the piano and the classic rock feel. My favorite record of theirs is For Cheap or For Free. The songs sound all the same on this one, too monotonous.
You guys probably would have loved their old band. Joey and the drummer had a pop-punk band around '99-'03. It was like Jimmy Eat World with ska horns lol.