Petra Haden and Yuka Honda collaborate on album

Salt on Sea Glass is the debut album from If By Yes is the collaborative project helmed by two of the most original talents in pop music. Petra Haden, the vocalist behind the groundbreaking vocal projects Imaginaryland and Petra Haden Sings The Who Sell Out, is known for her inventive harmonies and complex voicings and touring and studio stints with the Foo Fighters, Decemberists, Beck, Twilight Singers, Ricki Lee Jones and more. Yuka Honda’s kaleidoscopic audio production methods first came to public attention as a member of Cibo Matto, but she’s been playing jazz, hip-hop, funk, pop and avant-garde music in various New York City bands for the past 15 years (including Floored By Four with mike watt, Nels Cline [now her husband] and Dougie Bowne). The pair began writing together almost ten years ago, letting their unique sound evolve slowly and organically.

If By Yes also includes guitarist Hirotaka “Shimmy” Shimizu and drummer Yuko Araki, both long time members of the Japanese band Cornelius and, while the music is familiar, it has a non-linear, adventurous style that places it outside the parameters of most pop.  It is both swank and subversive.

The warmth and excitement of the band’s mutual creativity shines through on every track of If By Yes. “You Feel Right” is a soothing, sensuous love song with an exquisite, subtle, samba-like groove supplied by Cornelius (Keigo Oyamada), Honda’s shimmering keyboard textures and Haden’s lush, breathless vocal. Haden’s expansive, wordless coda is full of unrestrained joy. Haden and David Byrne duet on “Eliza,” a cryptic waltz, full of longing and unresolved tension. Araki plays clay pots, special guest Nels Cline’s lap steel guitar adds long mournful grace notes, while Byrne and Haden croon the melancholy melody.