For over two years Dylan Seeger worked in a room by himself on Claye. I’ll to get the bottom line quickly, I’m glad he did this because Claye is a hidden gem that is exceptional. The production and recording quality is top notch but that's not what ultimately makes this such a good album. Claye is an album that is experimental and original yet could also be considered a pop album. It’s an enticing combo that very musicians can pull off. How do you make pop music sound fresh? Well, the simple answer here is to just listen to Claye.
The album is full of unique sounds and transitions that make even the most cynical of listeners can appreciate. I’m not sure what was actually played and if anything was even sampled but either way Claye is a work of art that transcends appreciating a technically impressive guitar solo. You hear sounds throughout that make you question how they were made but they also feel like a piece of the puzzle that is an integral part of the song.
The first song is “Once in a Blue Moon.” Percussive elements dance about as a jazzy bass line comes into the mix. Seeger’s vocals are manipulated and almost sound like another instrument. I was already impressed by the sounds he was creating and I thought that was going to be it. Around the two-minute mark the song goes ethereal in a Spiritualized kind of way and that’s when I realized I might be listening to something special.
“Wormhole Parade” reminded a bit of Gorillaz at least in terms of the music. It’s one of those songs that just puts you in a good mood and gives you confidence. When Seeger sings, “It’s going to be ok” you believe him. As the song progresses horns and vocal harmonies come into the mix and the song becomes downright celebratory.
“Weird” is arguably the best song on the album. I almost don’t want to spoil it but I will say this. It has a fantastic beat and arguably the most infectious vocals on the album. If “Weird” is the best song than “Blue Moon (Once in a)” is the centerpiece. “Blue Moon (Once in a)” is emotionally resonant and sparse for at least the first half of the song. The most intriguing aspect is the dismal, near suicidal melancholy it starts off with that transitions to feeling of hope. Seeger somehow pulls this off without sounding forced and melodramatic.
“You Said” is a dance worthy, club thumper while “Butter” has a number of unique transitions that come out of nowhere. If you want a dynamic, versatile vocal performance just listen to “Mouse Trappe.”
The fact that Seeger is relatively undiscovered at this point is absurd. I understand there is a lot of competition out there but Claye is an album that can hang with some of the best underground albums that came out this year. My message is simple. Listen, enjoy and share.
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