Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Some Loud Thunder


3.0
good

Review

by Sepstrup USER (20 Reviews)
February 12th, 2007 | 29 replies | 7,555 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah turn down their eccentricities a notch on their sophomore effort. The result is a slightly uneven record that may disappoint their fans, but might attract some new listeners that were put off by their debut.

8 of 8 thought this review was well written

Ah, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. The indie darlings that seem to be revered everywhere except in our own Sputnik community.

The defining characteristic of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is not really up to discussion. It’s Alec Ounsworth’s vocals. Call them quirky, nasal, horrible, expressive, or whatever you want to, they’re definitely hard to describe. One thing’s for sure, they’re unique – for better or for worse. Alec Ounsworth has said in an interview that he changes his singing to suit the individual song and compared it to when guitarists use effects on their instruments. A lot of people might prefer it if he switched to ‘clean’, but hey…

Their indie pop sound has been compared to bands like Arcade Fire, Talking Heads and Neutral Milk Hotel. Combine the playfulness of Talking Heads with the nasality of five Jeff Mangums and you have a general idea of their sound. In the interview I mentioned earlier, Alec also said he didn’t care whether people liked them or not. He doesn’t care whether he played gigs for 5,000 people or 5 people. He just wants to make music. Normally, it’s hard to take such a statement at face value, I mean who doesn’t want some appreciation? (pos vote me, dammit!), but CYHSY certainly sound uncompromising when you listen to their two albums. They were discovered by talent/fate/luck or whatever you call it, without the help of a label, and to my best judgement Alec Ounsworth is simply making music to make music. Admirable, isn’t it?

So is the music good or not? That’s what I’m here to tell you I suppose. The vocals will sound grating at first to most people. It seems like Alec’s unconventional sound will only appeal to listeners who are very open-minded, fans of indie rock (a genre more or less known for peculiar singers), or both. Ultimately, his voice will often separate listeners in extreme opinions. Some give Clap Your Hands Say Yeah inordinate amount of praise, in my opinion partly due to eccentricity of his vocals, and some write them off instantly because of his voice. Either way, it’s hard to deny the talent of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. They have a strong sense of melody, and can stand up pretty well to a lot of indie rock groups today.

Some Loud Thunder seems to be dominated by several really good songs, while the rest aren’t as interesting. This makes the record arguably more uneven and less consistent than the debut, though some of the highlights make up for it. “Satan Said Dance” was chosen as a single for this album, and it’s quite an odd choice at that. It’s not the most immediately appealing song on the album and it isn’t the best either. It’s a solid song, driven by a disco-flavored drum-beat. It’s slightly repetitive, and at 5:32 it might be overlong. My personal choice for a single would be “Underwater”. It’s catchy and fairly easily enjoyable (even for people who hate the vocals, possibly). It’s also a long song at more than five minutes, but arguably a better choice than “Satan Said Dance”. That said, I doubt Alec Ounsworth really gives a ***. If we are to believe his statements in the aforementioned interview, why should he really care which song is a single? Especially when Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are so oddball and incompatible with mainstream tastes.

The albums zenith is easily “Love Song no. 7”. Driven mainly by a melancholic, almost hypnotic piano, Ounsworth’s rather dramatic vocals suit the song perfectly. It’s very much a cyclical song, revolving around repetition, with layers being added and added to make the song dynamic. Unlike “Satan Said Dance” it never actually becomes repetitive in a negative way, and the recurring chorus just adds to the emotion of the song. “Yankee Go Home” is one of the quirkiest songs on the album, with Alec almost shouting his way through the captivating chorus. The two electric guitars compliment the song greatly, making it one of the best songs on the album. Sadly, that’s more or less it for the highlights on the album. The rest is a mix of decent to good indie rock songs, that will appeal to most people, but hardly blow anyone away. Aside from “Love Song no. 7” and possible “Yankee Go Home” (“Underwater” too, if you want another one), nothing here is essential listening. It’s a good album, very enjoyable once/if you get past the vocals, but Clap Your Hands Say Yeah have yet to make an album that makes them worthy of the amount of praise they’ve been getting.

Is it better than the debut though? It depends. Ounsworth’s spastic singing has been turned down a notch, as has the overall quirkiness of the group. Roughly, people who loved the first record will like this one less and people who hated the first record will like this one more. Does that make Some Loud Thunder a better album? You tell me.



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user ratings (75)
Chart.
2.9
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
Kyle
February 12th 2007



667 Comments


Fantastic review.

I struggle to get past the first track to be honest, i'll give it more of a go sometime.

Sepstrup
February 12th 2007



1563 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Just listen to the three highlights I mentioned then. They're :thumb:

The Jungler
February 12th 2007



4827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yes, I agree with Kyle, very good review.
I liked quite a few tracks off of their debut, but it didn't really do it for me overall. I'll probably check this out sooner or later.

Zebra
Moderator
February 12th 2007



2647 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This is an improvement from their dreadful debut effort but it's still not as good as it's made out to be. The vocals are still very difficult to get into and a lot of the songs are just to boring. I agree with most of this review although "Underwater" is the albums finest moment in my book.

Sepstrup
February 12th 2007



1563 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The three highlights I mentioned are really awesome songs for me, but the rest of this album is just decent to good.

trustxdialect
February 12th 2007



1502 Comments


I can't stand these guys, but this sounds like an improvement.

descendents1
February 12th 2007



702 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Awesome review...kind of planning on avoiding this one though, even though i really enjoyed the first

La Revolucion
February 12th 2007



1060 Comments


Even the three highlights you mentioned are hard to listen to. This album is bad.

Kaleid
February 12th 2007



711 Comments


Utterly brilliant review. You never disappoint.
I've never heard much tbh, the singer's voice with

the nasality of five Jeff Mangums
kinda puts me off.

The Jungler
February 12th 2007



4827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Woah, this CD is a lot better than I expected. Better than the debut for sure.

We have a fairly similar stance on the album, though I really don't like Love Song No. 7. That and Satan Said Dance are probably the worst tracks on here, the latter has some really good parts but it's just too long.This Message Edited On 02.12.07

br3ad_man
Emeritus
February 12th 2007



2125 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Great review. This album is absolutely awful.

sgrevs
February 13th 2007



698 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Tracks 3 to 5 and Underwater are easily the best for me, and I find the album very enjoyable. Not as good as the debut, but not bad for a follow-up. Brilliant review.

Sepstrup
February 13th 2007



1563 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

CYHSY have cool album covers I think.

The Jungler
February 13th 2007



4827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I love the other one

this ones alright

sadisticmonkey
February 14th 2007



107 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

thought it was good...but not as good as their debut

The Sludge
February 15th 2007



2169 Comments


Those songs on display are pure horrid.

Sepstrup
February 15th 2007



1563 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

No, they're awesome

MrKite
February 15th 2007



5020 Comments


When I first listened I didn't mind the guys voice, but know it really bugs me.

descendents1
March 12th 2007



702 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

the s/t makes me smile

i hate this album

only because it's terrible

Two-Headed Boy
April 29th 2007



4527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Why else would you hate the album.



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