Seattle band Grand Hallway's debut album, “Yes Is The Answer”, was recorded in the summer of 2006 by Jeramy Koepping and Moe Provencher at Jack Straw Studios. The eleven songs which comprise the album feature Tomo Nakayama’s instantly memorable melodies, supported by layers of guitars, upright bass, pedal steel, percussion, and strings (arranged by the band themselves.) Grand Hallway’s music spans a myriad of genres, often within a single song, all the while evoking a sense of familiarity in its spacious structures and plain spoken words. “Yes Is The Answer” is released exclusively in Japan on Sideout Records (home to Bright Eyes, Cursive, Nada Surf, The Velvet Teen), and self-released by the band in the US.
"The finest, most exquisite craftsmanship has the power to turn ordinary objects into works of art. In the case of Grand Hallway's Yes is the Answer, it is this sort of craft that elevates Tomo Nakayama's songs--gorgeous, orchestral pop pieces that balance intricate arrangements of piano, strings, and countless other subtleties--to a higher plane of beauty. Without such attentive composition and production these songs would still be memorable; with it, they're transcendent. The instrumentation also amply underscores and amplifies Nakayama's lilting, warbling vocals. Seemingly every song contains at least one stirring, emotion-laden refrain or lyrical turn. On "Seward Park" it's Nakayama crying "I love you, dear" over a swell of crashing drums and skyward-climbing piano and strings; on "Darling, Wife" it's the roaring-electric-guitar-backed refrain of "red, white and blue birds." There's a healthy variety of slow, delicate songs (the somber waltz "Smiles Through Stale Breadcrumbs") and upbeat, rollicking numbers ("Napoleon's Left Shoe"), as well as plenty of variation within each song. "Giant Novels" starts as a brisk march that breaks down into a bombastic, lethargic bridge before amping back up for a waltzing outro. With such intriguing complexity, Yes is te Answer doesn't fail to satisfy long after the hooks are lodged in your brain, rewarding the attentive listener with a bevy of charming, subtle touches that don't surface until many listens later." - Seattle Sound
"Yes Is the Answer glows brightly with warm, delicate orchestration and thoughtful song structures. Smooth piano and swooning strings only slightly take the spotlight over Tomo Nakayama's tender crooning. The songs are sometimes sad ("Seward Park"), sometimes loving, and at times even playful ("Piano Room"). Slide guitar gives a light country flare to the otherwise poppy "Minimum Wage," while wind instruments and layers of plunking piano, violin, and guitar bring a slight Japanese folk sound to "Darling, Wife." - The Stranger
"I know of no singer that has a better voice than Tomo Nakayama. I also don't know of a more gorgeous record to be released in 2007, locally or otherwise." - Threeimaginarygirls.com
"Grand Hallway has created an album of orchestrated chamber pop that manages to be simultaneously lush and delicate, all while maintaining Nakayama's personal and idiosyncratic vision" - WC Performer
"One of the most intriguing voices in Seattle..." - Seattle Times
“I am mesmerized by the music of Tomo Nakayama and his troupe of Seattle musicians making up the experimental pop slash classic Japanese group Grand Hallway... reminiscent of Vells frontman Tristan Marcum, but less verbose and without added distortion.” - FensePost
"Intricate details permeate this quirky and wonderful pop album." - Mish Mash Music