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clayhands — Is This Yes?
(Bird's Robe no#, 2021, CD / LP / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2022-04-01

Is This Yes? Cover art

It’s apparently fashionable these days for bands to give themselves names made of multiple words and run them all together in lower case — sleepmakeswaves, maybeshewill, and the band at hand, clayhands, are all examples. It’s probably no coincidence that all of these bands are part of the post-rock style that’s so prevalent around the world. Punctuation and capitalization aside, this band presents an excellent set of instrumental music on Is This Yes? The group seems uninterested in sharing anything about themselves, aside from the fact that they’re “human,” which I honestly never doubted. They’re apparently Australian, and some of the members may be named Heather Darvey, Matthew Brazel, or Ronan Geraghty, though most band photos include four apparent humans. I’ve also read that they recruit other musicians to fill in specialized roles, though they haven’t given credit to anyone who has done so. However they do it, and whoever is involved, I applaud the result of their work. These six tracks are intelligently written and arranged, flowing dramatically from delicacy to power, and even injecting touches of chaos to add an edge at times. Much of the melodic material comes from keyboards using a wide variety of sounds, from piano to sweeping strings and piercing synths. One thing I especially appreciate is that they do not indulge in the post-rock cliché of having electric guitars play melodies with tremolo picking. I’m really getting tired of that. The tracks are full of contrasting sections with varying rhythmic patterns and levels of intensity, and it’s quite powerful at times without getting into heavy guitar tones. I’d recommend Is This Yes? for anyone who loves instrumental rock music that’s melodic but not wimpy.

Filed under: New releases, 2021 releases

Related artist(s): Clay Hands

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