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It is fair to say that Clay Joule is known for its eclectic style, one that is so adventurous that it lacks a definitive musical style, and I mean that in the best of ways. It isn’t the sonic building blocks he uses to make his music that define what is essential about his creations so much as the finished song’s true purpose.
No matter what sound or style, groove or genre he is going for, more than anything else, it is the message he is seeking to deliver, the point he is raising, which is the be-all and end-all. For Clay Joule, music that doesn’t have anything new or poignant to say is just mere entertainment, and he sees what he does as being more important than mere entertainment. That’s not to say that his music isn’t entertaining, it is, but it transcends such simple applications.
His collaboration with theatrical vocalist Elisa Mammoliti on this latest release, “Drifters,” enables the song to take on more harmonic and heavenly qualities with vocal treatments that add sweetness and light to the music. He has always been as great with the vocal components as he has with the music, but her involvement raises the bar and creates a fantastic additional depth and musical breadth to the proceedings.
The message of “Drifters” is poignant and powerful, addressing the global issue of homelessness. There are various reasons why someone might become homeless, from economic policy to personal crises, emotional concerns to substance abuse and mental health, debt, home repossession, physical abuse, and more. The song also reminds listeners not to judge people for their choices when they don’t know the options they had. Clay Joule’s willingness to use his platform to discuss critical issues is admirable. The message in “Drifters” is one able to raise awareness, focus on a crucial point, spread the word and instigate dialogue. It could potentially change the world.
The music in “Drifters” is as poised and graceful as the message is potent. The balance of space and sound, the ebb and flow of atmosphere and anticipation is perfect, guitars slashing and slicing one minute and wandering off into ornate exploration the next and the vocal weaves glide effortlessly across the top, defining the song. “Drifters” is less a mere song and more the soundtrack and rallying cry to a cause.
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