Monday, February 12

Album Review: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Now that my computer's finally up and running again, we're going to start posting regularly again. Thank you for having patience. --Dominick


“Some Loud Thunder”
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah; 2007
7.5/10

“Eh” is what one would say after tasting a fine wine immediately after opening the bottle, and “eh” is what bloggers and music critics have been spitting out all over the web after a premature taste of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s newest album, “Some Loud Thunder”.

Evidently, most people’s expectations of perfection from CYHSY proved unsatisfactory following the first few listens. Many have quickly shrugged off the album as a poor sophomore effort, hastily put together, resulting in a simple mess of good ideas. The album seems to incorporate too many eccentric, electronic effects that are sporadic and seem to lack any rhyme or reason.

Connoisseurs know that any good wine must be given time to aerate, thereby opening the aromas and softening the underlying flavor. Likewise, an overall appreciation for “Some Loud Thunder” will just take some time to acquire a true taste of the album’s magnificence.

Part of attaining that “true taste” will require the listener to hear the album the way lead singer Alec Ounsworth intended it to be heard. In an interview with The Independent, Ounsworth illustrated his love for vinyl music and said, “I just listened to the new record on vinyl for the first time, and it sounds great. Here everybody is listening to the record on computer, which I would never do with anything, so I’m listening to it the way it should be, getting the correct impression.”

The album commences with an unusual choice for an opener and title track “Some Loud Thunder.” The song is an unhealthy mix of lyrical madness, unorthodox vocal yelps and a seemingly racing musical composition that clocks in at about two minutes and forty five seconds.

As weird as it is, “Some Loud Thunder” sets an appropriate prelude for the entire album, giving the listener a telling sample of the musical madness that can be expected.

“Mama, Won’t You Keep Them Castles in the Air and Burning?” begins as another unconventional song that seems to dive into the pop-based rhythmic format that made Clap Your Hands Say Yeah so popular.

A seemingly odd choice for one of the two singles (posted on the band’s web site prior to the album’s release), “Love Song No. 7” still effectively captures the essence of the album. The ghostly howling of Ounsworth is complemented in a quirky beauty by omnipresent piano riffs. The entwined tambourine, synthesizer licks and accordion allow for layers to support the song’s overall detached dynamic that is repeated throughout the album.

“Goodbye to Mother and the Cove” showcases Dave Fridmann’s producing efforts. Famous for his work with the Flaming Lips, his genius is demonstrated with quality layering and altering percussion selections.

Based in New York and Philadelphia, the quintet has received high acclaim for promoting and selling most of their music via MySpace. The band (whose members include Alec Ounsworth, Robbie Guertin, Lee Sargent, Tyler Sargent and Sean Greenhalgh) signed with Wichita in the UK, but still remain independent in the U.S., a major feat considering the vacuum of control by media conglomerates. “Some Loud Thunder” was released January 30.

Download:
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Some Loud Thunder
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Mama, Won’t You Keep…
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Underwater (You and Me)

- Charlie Berens -

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