Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!
Some Loud Thunder
Forget Lily Allen, Brooklyn based Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! were one of the first success stories of MySpace and its ilk. Their 2005 eponymous debut album saw comparisons ranging from the American Radiohead to a low budget Arcade Fire, and although none of them quite hit the nail on the head, the sentiments are hard to ignore.
In fact, that first long player doesn't quite stand the test of time when listened back to now, and if anything sounds in places like a half-recorded demo interspiced with one or two good ideas.
If you want to hear what Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! are really capable of though, 'Some Loud Thunder' is undoubtedly where it's at.
Alec Ounsworth's unmistakeably wiry falsetto-cum-wail is still omnipresent, but some of the musicianship and arrangements are beyond the wildest expectations of eve the most dedicated fan of the band's previous works.
Like fellow anti-traditionalists The National, CYHSY! evoke images of being one space cadet short of a full cabin crew, as songs veer from simple melodic shuffles through to mind-expanding electronica via one barely noticeable chord change. It's avant-garde kids but not as we know it, and all the more likeable as a result.
'Emily Jean Stock' is like a lo-fi lullaby straight from Granddaddy's cupboard of lost treasures, once again though Ounsworth's unmistakeable vocal gives it the CYHSY! seal of authenticity. 'Love Song No. 7' even threatens to go calypso in places, while 'Goodbye To Mother And The Cove' is so aloof and effortless that it's prevalent death march breeches the unexpected with consummate ease.
Future single 'Underwater (You And Me)' is the closest this record comes to the previous Arcade Fire comparisons, although closer inspection reveals that its eloquent, jangly chorus perhaps owes more than a passing nod to Wayne Coyne and company, while the closing 'Five Easy Pieces' offers psychedelic shanties, call and response mantras and a humping bassline not heard since Peter Hook was in his prime.
'Some Loud Thunder' then, is the album we'd all hoped Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! were capable of making and more besides. Kooky, winsome pop hasn't sounded this good in ages.