Friday, February 21, 2014

Clap Your Hands...

Here is something that Clap Your Hands Say Yeah posted on Twitter last night:

This announcement made me very happy indeed. CYHSY have been one of my favourites since I first got my hands on their debut album - that was back in 2007, and many of that CD's songs now number among my most listened-to of all time. There's Details of the War, the bruised, beautiful torch song that introduced me to the band; there's Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood, the audacious album closer that ends with Alec Ounsworth repeating the phrase 'child stars' about fifty times, which always thrilled me when it probably should have really annoyed me; and then there's The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth, the loose-limbed centrepiece of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah which, for a time, was a serious contender for my favourite song of all.

I think a lot of people consider the other two CYHSY albums to be somewhat disappointing, but I quite like them. Some Loud Thunder is certainly challenging - I can't imagine anyone who would enjoy listening to the muffled, distorted title track - but it's also the album with Satan Said Dance on it, which is more than enough to exonerate it. Songs like Yankee Go Home and Love Song No. 7 are pretty smashing as well, not to mention my personal favourite Mama, Won't You Keep Them Castles in the Air and Burning? It's like this album's Details of the War.


Third album Hysterical is even better. It caught some criticism for sounding like The Killers, and while I can certainly understand that comparison, their jerky, nasal take on The Killers' brand of skyscraping American anthemica certainly works for me. The first three tracks (the soaring, skittering Same Mistake; the breakneck title track; and the lovely Wasted Youth, which is this album's Mama, Won't You Keep Them Castles in the Air and Burning?) form one of the best opening one-two-three punches I've ever heard.

It's hard to know what to expect from the new album. There hasn't really been any pattern to their releases so far - I suppose that Hysterical, a reasonably accessible album, could be construed as a reaction to the confusion that Some Loud Thunder elicited, in which case the new'un will probably be more experimental again. I'm vaguely aware that they released a new EP recently...does anyone know what that sounded like?

Actually, it doesn't matter. Regardless of what the new CYHSY album is like, I'll probably go to Spillers and buy it and listen to it and enjoy it. They're a special band, and if they're currently absent from your collection, I recommend righting that wrong ASAP.

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