Local Wire

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

While your iTunes playlist is doubtless clogged with songs by bands well-suited to their noms de plume, Philly/NYC quartet Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is that rare act whose name describes the desired effect its music will have on listeners. Frontman Alec Ounsworth's uneven squawk recalls Talking Heads' David Byrne — when it doesn't bring to mind Bob Dylan or Thom Yorke — and he sallies and brandishes it like an indie-rock carnival barker-cum-tent revivalist while the band sells a roguish sizzle congested with guitars, keyboards, organs, and tambourines. Some Loud Thunder, the band's followup to last year's In This Home on Ice, is surprisingly laconic by comparison, jettisoning some of its predecessor's scratchy, toy-box clutter and urgency. This is no tragedy, just maturity encroaching on CYHSY's whimsical abandon; check out the gently distorted balladry of "Emily Jean Stock," the baroque, weirdly triumphant weariness of "Yankee Go Home," or the harmonica-versus-organ hearth Americana that is "Five Easy Pieces." An exception, the assembly-line disco dither "Satan Said Dance," has the greatest replay value — its bounding-panther bass, pin-prickly, teeter-tottering synths, batting-like-eyelashes axes, and organ bleeds make it a prime candidate for remix-EP glory.
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Ray Cummings