Food and music are similar in many ways, there’s a wide variety of elements that come together to create something that is either pure confection or meaty and greasy, or a fusion of a few cultures colliding in a bowl of deliciousness. In the case of Clayton Brooks new album, Valley, it’s a collision of ambient dream pop with indie sensibilities and a hint of folky goodness. Like a well layered dish, there’s the whipped and silky textures found in ambient that float like clouds of color on top, layered with rich and meaningful lyrics that cover topics of worshiping a holy God, mercy, grace, and needing God. In the midst of the indie dream pop layers, there is the integration of melodic steel guitars that are often found in country western music and folk, clearly a nod to Clayton’s home town of Dallas, TX.
Dipping into Valley, digging into the layers, there’s an undercurrent of faith that is at the very core of these songs. “Son Rise,” between the ethereal waltzing melody and airy atmosphere, is the urging to face faith rather than emotions. It easily moves into the expansive “A Beautiful Name.” The entire album flows from one track to the next, easily and beautifully. It’s definitely one of those albums you’ll want to put on in the background or for personal meditative worship time. It creates an easy atmosphere, peaceful and light. Songs that are highlights, “Pen and Writer,” “A Beautiful Name,” and the confident “Resist.”
Should you indulge in this richly layered dish? Yes. Especially if you are into artists like DIIV, Slowdive, and similar secular artists and want something that is more Christian in nature.
Clayton Brooks spends a great deal of time being a worship pastor at The Oaks church in Dallas, TX.