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Clay Joule - Sedation (Truwan Studio)

6 February 2024

A new song from Clay Joule is always an exciting and vital proposition. Why? Because a song from him is always more than just a song. Much more. Clay uses music in a way that most people have forgotten. Whereas many in the pop and rock world write songs to chase fame and fortune, feather their nests, and further their own ends, Clay remembers a time before that was the norm. A time when music was used as a creative platform to speak to the masses about complex issues, to speak truth to power, and to push political, social, and ideological thought. Music has always been a brilliant form of mass communication, we should remember that.

Many people make music just for the sake of it, but here, we are returning to that older idea of music as a manifesto. Or at least to open up a conversation about the things that matter.

As the song title suggests, the subject is based on the old idea of finding whatever works for you so that we can all calm down. There needs to be an antidote to the mass hysteria that has gripped the world; from the power-mad ravings of politicians to the paranoia of those who blindly follow them, we all need something to take the edge off. And while that has been a musically connected argument back through almost all genres of music, everyone from speed freak punks to pill popping country singers, you only have to look at the lives of the Romantic poets, the historical medieval Assassins, warrior berserkers, and pre-roman, animistic nature cults to see that there has always been a need for such stimulations.

And via this groovesome, soul-rock blend of music, he takes the argument further, much further than the punks and protestors of the past who have merely advocated the rights to undertake such pastimes. Here he goes further and connects the organized religions of the world, who interestingly are generally the powers who ban the use of everything from coffee to alcohol to drugs, all of which might help the situation, with many of the wars and unrest that seem to be engulfing us today. The punks might have been advocating such a path to a nihilistic end, but here, the song lines up more with the hippy ethic of mind expansion and empathy.

The Gaza conflict may be just the latest and most obvious example of faith being the catalyst for death and destruction. Still, it is a situation as old as religion itself. Should we not, in these more scientifically enlightened times, he argues, be finding ways to bring each other closer together, not using our ideological differences to push us apart? Shared experiences? Shared consciousness? Shared awakenings?

And, as always, he is smart enough to wrap these powerful and poignant arguments in a neat slice of infectious pop-rock. It is a song shot through with soulful guitar licks, courtesy of guitarist Alex Gusinski, and runs along on very groovesome beats, some heavenly additional vocals come from regular collaborator Elisa Mammoliti and the whole thing moves along brilliantly courtesy of Amadei Sarsanski’s mellifluous and marvellously meandering bass lines.

I apologize if this review seems like a political and perhaps philosophical discussion, but, as I said on the way in, Clay Joule isn’t just a writer of songs; he is a starter of dialogue, a disseminator of ideas, a shouter from rooftops and a channeller of powerful and poignant ideas. And the world needs more people like him. Now more than ever.