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August 15, 2005

{     Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - self-titled     }    

Believe the hype. Even if you've never heard of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah before reading this sentence, you'll have little difficulty tracking down praise for their live show or this self-titled debut album. It's not thanks to any sort of gratuitous press effort or national ad campaign either, these kids are getting big-ups through sheer word of mouth goodness alone. And it's all entirely well-deserved as there's just something incredibly fresh and undeniably wonderful about the CYHSY sound. Part of this album's appeal lies in just how different it sounds from the current crop of rock. It's a nice balance of art-rock smarts and indie-pop hooks, smile-inducing rhythms and cascading walls of noise. It's the kind of thing you just want to run right out and tell three friends about. That's not to say that this album is for everyone, and maybe that too is part of the attraction. It's accessibility is tempered by an eclecticism and knack for experimentation that not everybody is going to love, and singer Alec Ounsworth's reedy, nasally, David Byrne-esque delivery is designed to cut through the bandwagon-jumpers, leaving only the faithful onboard the good ship Clap Your Hands. But oh how the faithful are rewarded! Tracks like "Heavy Metal", "The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth" and "Is This Love" are flawless art-pop gems, full of a jangly catchiness and fiery intelligence, toe-tappin' and revelatory. On a more slow-burning tip, "Let the Cool Goddess Rust Away" and "Details of the War" feel like folked-up lost Velvet Underground tracks, throbbing with a reserved sort of intensity while "Over and Over Again (Lost and Found)" channels some Talking Heads vibes and drops a for-the-hell-of-it David Bowie reference. "Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood", the closing track, may be the most modern Modern Rock song ever recorded, as shimmery guitar rhythms are punctuated by raw vocalization and a relentlessly driving beat. All these disparate elements combine to form one of the most original and satisfying rock albums I've heard in a long time. For all it's "right sound at the right time" appeal, there is something that's also very timeless about Clap Your Hands Say Yeah that will carry them far beyond hipster iPod playlist status. It's not just a question of talent, of which they have plenty, but also of a certain fearlessness that allows them to take the chances necessary to keep things fresh. Catch them on tour now, in support of The National. Tour dates are listed on the band's website linked below.



"Far... far away from West Virginia!"

Posted by: Shane at August 16, 2005 6:36 PM

"We can do the Zarathustra...."

Posted by: Adam at August 16, 2005 8:57 PM

We have nothing left to fear now that bigfoot is captured.

Posted by: Aaron at August 16, 2005 10:25 PM

I've heard a few songs by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and let me just say: me likes, me certainly likes.

Posted by: K. Laishley at August 18, 2005 4:54 AM

I'm just going to say again how much I love this album. Wait, I haven't said it yet. I really love this album. It's been the soundtrack to my summer thus far.... So fucking fantastic....

Posted by: shane at August 20, 2005 12:24 AM
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