Clay is a name that I have known since I started looking into African rock acts/bands. Her voice is not the kind you hear in passing. It always leaves an impression. I remember my colleagues and I saw her live and she sang “Immortal” by Evanescence. After that the one thing my colleagues and I agreed on is that her voice would be a good fit for all sorts of sub-genres and her different collaborations with different artists/bands like Komos, ParkingLotGrass, 1LastAutograph only confirmed our thoughts about what her voice was capable of going well with. And now she’s released her long-awaited EP, “Road Less Travelled”.
The first track “Destiny” has this folk/country vibe to it with the acoustic guitar, piano a drum beat that sounds more like an electronically generated beat. The lyrics are simple but very personal as it talks about the challenges she faced while trying to become the musician she is now. “Ochukwu” comes next and is probably my best song on the album. There’s this nearly haunting vibe I get in the Hook of the song. There’s a lot of piano in this song, too.
“Queen B” opens with a very pop-like bass drum beat that then goes into a very EDM build up before the chorus. It’s not a bad song but I’d argue it sounds more like an Electronic Dance Music (that’s what EDM stands for) song. Honestly, I would not mind EDM DJs making a bunch of remixes of the song. But that’s just me. The song “Yolo” feels a bit more folk like, even more so than “Destiny”. I did enjoy the part of the song where there’s this choir-like group singing. think some call it “Gang Vocals”. The fact that part was done in the Igbo language (of Nigeria) that made it enjoyable for me.
The song “The One” features Johnny Drille. And it’s his voice that opens the song. And it has this Owl City vibe when he’s singing. Clay comes in when the chorus starts and takes the helm for the rest of the song. Drille did come in again during the third verse, but only for part of it. And damn it, his voice reminds me of the Owl City dude…! (In a good way though).
The closing track “Cheap Happiness” has a synthesised electric guitar somewhere in there for the most part. The lyrics and vocals do feel very pop like. And there’s the part where she sings “Ohwoohowoo” that sounds like the hook from the song “Tarzan Boy” by Baltimora (and now I feel like listening to Tarzan Boy). I won’t be surprised if a number of Y’all don’t know the song. It’s pretty old. 32 years old to be exact.
Honestly, I have conflicting feelings but I will try to air them in a coherent manner. First off, if there’s anything this EP has taught me, it’s that Clay’s voice goes with almost any genre. However, I feel it goes better with music that is on the high energy spectrum. The parts of the songs that were done in Igbo were fun to listen to. I liked Destiny for its honesty and Ochukwu for, well, it’s the most memorable song on the EP. The production is clean, the guest vocals, for the most part, were cool. However, Johnny’s were my favourite, Bravo Johnny (see what I did there?).
With all that, there comes the one concern some will definitely have with the EP. And that is, it does not sound very “ROCK”. Some would say it outright doesn’t. And I’d understand their concern. Especially when “Queen B” sounds so very EDM. I listen to EDM so I don’t mind but still sounds very EDM. Oh and I think Aramide who was a guest vocalist on the song, should do EDM songs. I would pay money to hear her on some cool EDM tracks. Another issue is that besides the two songs I explicitly stated that I liked, the rest don’t stay in my head past a few minutes after listening to them. While I did find the songs to be somewhat enjoyable, they didn’t stick in my head as much as “Destiny” and “Ochukwu” did. But, that’s just me. I would still encourage you all to give it a listen and let us know if you agree or disagree with what I’ve said 🙂 You can get the full EP here on Spinlet for just 60 Nigerian Naira