Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Clay Melton Band

This is not a country band by any means, it’s just a Texas thing. What they are is a hard rock band with alternative, classic and southern influences of the last five decades. That’s a pretty bold combo and they do it with ease and grace. I am liking everything about this, as I’m already hooked on every track, which is only four on this one. But four powerfully laid down tracks. The well-produced EP begins and ends on a high note, as “Tonight” starts the show off. The percussion carries this to far-away places while Clay Melton establishes his multi-faceted musical prowess. It’s a grand slam this one, on what is not a perfect but still second to none effort. And that is on a whole concerning that. This is always the best way to start.

And then there is always the follow-up to such a grand opening salvo, and “Home” is exactly where it’s at. The acoustic guitar lines set up another killer number. This swirls in and out with loud and quiet parts that interact seamlessly with some mild piano to top it off. The diversity displayed on this track alone speaks volumes along with the ultra-production. Vocal harmonies to die for are what this is all about with nothing contained within that loses the listener on any level. This is essentially the alternative rock cut of the bunch, with both hard and soft rock qualities. It almost rings of bands like 10cc. You can easily get wrapped up in the jubilant performance of it all. It takes you away with a remarkable effort to absorb your time.

“Remember” has more of a pedestrian vibe and probably not the best these tracks, but it’s still lots of fun and the guitar just makes it along with some chanting in the background, as the vocals either also save it for you or they don’t. This would have to be the one place where that can happen or not, because not only is Clay Melton a superior guitarist, he is just as good of a vocalist, as all vocals included on every number. It’s just that this one tends to distract from the overall seriousness of the band, and takes them into less polished territory. It’s not a complaint, just an observation because I still like it. There is something for every rock fan here, but until you listen you will have to take one person’s word for it.

The EP comes to an end with “Stop And Listen” as they get back to the standard in which they started. This is probably where most of their influences can be detected but also where they go out in style. Everything is on point here with a huge guitar sound that goes from chunky to absolutely incendiary, covering the vernacular of rocks vast spectrum of good clichés. Your attention is demanded from beginning to end and you’re left wanting more, as this one could use another minute or even two. It reminds me that in the last five years or so I hear a lot of bands placing some of their best tracks at the end of the track order. Hopefully this is a trend that lasts. 

Every single track is packed full of what it takes to rock my world, and it takes a lot to do that. I’m usually not giving younger bands enough shots but this is a chance I’m glad I took. Don’t get me wrong it’s not life or death but I am grateful to know there is still kids out there who can put the right stuff into every minute of their sound. It goes the distance where others can’t travel, and knocks them out of the way so all you’re hearing is the cream of the crop. Clay Melton Band has that quality and more. It’s packed with the values that are hard to come by anymore, and to think he has his whole life ahead of him, as well as his band mates. It has me asking why we can’t have more of this from bands, whether trios or full ensembles recording albums or EP’s. 

Cory Frye


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