Dave McGovern
staff writer
August 06, 2005
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Rock Music Reviews
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

I don’t like comparisons. The comparisons usually create a bias before the listener ever gets a chance to hear the record. I was turned off of the Arcade Fire because of the constant and typical Neutral Milk Hotel comparisons that they were getting early on, but I got over it and found out how unique the Arcade Fire really were. As with any “hot” new band, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah has drawn the usual Neutral Milk Hotel and Talking Heads comparisons. The vocals of Alec Ounsworth are a bit Jeff Mangum but more nasally (didn’t think that was possible) as well as a pinch of the passion of Win Butler. But please, do not let my comparisons discourage you, this band is worth more than just a mere passing interest.

The self titled debut opens with “Clap your hands”: old time radio broadcast from a sepia carnival with a ghost chorus. Don’t let this off color first track discourage as I think many people do. This is just the warm up act making sure that the audience’s attention is fully grasped before the main event.
“Let the Cool Goddess Rust Away” opens with muted guitars and a rolling bass line. The guitars take off the earmuffs as tambourine gets higher in the mix and the song really cuts loose. “Over and Over Again (lost and found)” is a sweet pop machine steaming steadily upstream. “The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth” has fuzzed synth and dancy hi-hats playing the role of guide through the peaks and valleys of Ounsworth’s vocals.

The best track of the album is “Heavy Metal”. Harmonica, power chords, snare and splash cymbal are running on all cylinders as the windows roll down and the speedometer needle snaps.

The only real let down of the album is the finale: “Upon this Tidal Wave of Young Blood.” The track has much potential but doesn’t really cut loose like it could. The music fails to match tenacity and intensity of the vocals.

The debut from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is by no means a break through. Nothing is profoundly different. Many people may just write the album off as a fun indie pop rock album. What makes Clap Your Hands Say Yeah so special is that you can tell that the band has fun making the music. You can feel their energy in the recordings. It is very rare for a band to project vigor and excitement. This is a very good album and a very promising start for this band. With some more practice Clap Your Hands Say Yeah could have a future masterpiece. So get in on the ground floor and see what all the hype is about.

Release date:
Label:
Rating: 8.0 / 10

[RMR]