Grand Hallway | Yes Is The Answer

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Pop: Piano Rock: Post-Rock/Experimental Moods: Type: Lyrical
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Yes Is The Answer

by Grand Hallway

Debut album from Seattle indie ensemble featuring members of Asahi and Voyager One. Spellbinding, cinematic piano-based art pop with layers of strings, woodwind, pedal steel, guitars, upright bass, and drums.
Genre: Pop: Piano
Release Date: 

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Tracks

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1. (an introduction)
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0:18 $0.99
2. Seward Park
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4:09 $0.99
3. Napoleon's Left Shoe
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3:24 $0.99
4. Darling, Wife
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5:08 $0.99
5. Piano Room
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3:34 $0.99
6. Giant Novels
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3:39 $0.99
7. Waltz (On A Headache)
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4:56 $0.99
8. Smiles Through Stale Breadcrumbs
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4:00 $0.99
9. Minimum Wage
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3:22 $0.99
10. Philadelphia
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4:03 $0.99
11. Brooklyn
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4:07 $0.99
12. As A Tower
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6:40 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
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.

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"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


Reviews


to write a review

Infinite Jellyfish

Jellyfish Essentials: Grand Hallway, Yes Is The Answer - 8.0
Its always good when an artist or group has a unique sound. Its even better when its difficult to describe said sound with words. This description just about sums up Grand Hallway. With piano, electric guitar, violin, bells, bass, mandolin, accordion, and banjo, you never know what you're going to get with this incomparable local Seattle based group. Every Grand Hallway record is like a sampler box of exceptional music, but to me Yes Is The Answer undoubtedly stands out as their best work to date. This album is the first full length from this band, but has the feel of a fully developed, long experienced band, much older then their time. With luscious, deep melodies, and the elegant, soft, almost whispered lyrics of Japan native Tomo Nakayama, this album is remarkably unforgettable.

Yes Is The Answer begins with the unrivaled track of "Seward Park". This is actually in fact the albums greatest shortcoming. Its untoppable. Marvelous vocals laced with a charming piano background make you think of a dreary, yet elgant, rainy fall day, making it a pleasure to listen to. It's quickly followed by the quick paced, mysteriously, upbeat tune of "Napoleon's Right Shoe", which not unlike the album as a whole is a jumble of emotions which leave you puzzled as to what to feel. Other notable songs arrive at the close of the album, such as the delicate track "Philadelphia" or the sun coated "Brooklyn". "As A Tower" ends the tracklist with beauty with a smooth seven minute piece, closing the album, and leaving you with the feeling that you just witnessed something grand.

This album isn't completely without its faults. It does feel at times that the compilation is like a sandwhich with not enough meat - Its almost a masterpiece but there is just a little something lacking. It is also correct that you do need to be in the right mood to enjoy this, which means laying back, relaxing, and appreciating music. Nevertheless, I guarentee you will get some enjoyment out of this no matter what music you like. If your local record store carries this I urge you to buy it no matter who you are.

- 8/4/2010

Pamela at CD Baby


With lilting melodies that are quietly spellbinding, Grand Hallway puts forth this record of lovely, roomy, and melancholic piano pop. Just when you think you’ve settled into the gaunt beauty of drums and piano, a profusion of strings, pedal steel, and vibraphone slide, and then burst out of the seams of this recording, leaving their colorful trails over the tape until they disappear from earshot again. The perfectly delicate and restrained, but dreamy nature of Tomo Nakayama’s lead vocals puts a sobering face of reality on these songs; while many of the instruments are often enough running riot behind the melodies, Nakayama’s fine-drawn vocal themes are padding through the reigned-in ruckus. Beyond the actual instrumentation, these are songs that never become predictable as time signature and tempo changes take you from gauzy, ride-heavy 4/4 verses to frenetically waltzing bridges and choruses. It’s a nostalgia-inducing tearjerker of a record that makes you feel a little better for having heard it… and felt it.

Dennis Bourne

Grand, Indeed!
Great album. Great sound and style. Only art pop I listen to is Candy Butchers and Sufjan Stevens, but these guys are encouraging me to branch out a little more. Masterful pianowork paired with piercing vocals and strong backup instrumentation sets a chill, but colorful mood. Definitely buy it.