image Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!
Release: May, 2005
Self Released

Starting off with a drunken pub shout (Clap Your Hands!) insinuating medieval swigs of bitter, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!’s debut self-titled release elusively fools any first impression. When the drinking subsides a steady guitar and tambourine duet quickly launch into Alec Ounsworth’s best impression of David Byrne (Talking Heads).

I must admit rolling in a near perfect rating (9) in Pitchfork was catalyst to my interest, especially from a band with a self-released album.  That combined with write ups in an array of local NY publications had me figuring CYHSY were on to something.  To be brutally honest upon my initial listen I thought these people might all be in cahoots to propel an over-hyped, well connected, spoiled bunch of Brooklyn brats to indie-rock stardom (oxymoron).  That is, until I heard the fifth cut on the album, Details of the War.  Ounsworth’s focus on intimacy and sheer passion for delivering the best vocal on the album had me casting aside the Talking Heads references as a non-important nuance of a really great songwriter backed by an in-the-pocket band.  CYHSY are supposed to be even better live, which I dare not doubt.  The claustrophobic nature of a studio must be counterproductive for such an uninhibited voice.

I should probably talk about the rest of the band. Ounsworth is joined by Lee Sargent, Robbie Guertin, Tyler Sargent, and Sean Greenhalgh.  Sure, they’re good.  Interpol, Strokes, etc… Nothing spectacular, it’s almost utilitarian.  “Kinda like a Jeep.” To make an excuse they’re still a young band, maybe they’re still feeling things out.  I have a feeling that it’s more because minimalist driving rhythms are all the NY rage.  Stepping out to expose ones neck isn’t getting too much airplay lately.  It’s a pop record; they’ve got the tambourine, harmonica, and distorted bass, what more do you want?

I haven’t had the benefit of a live show, and by the look of their schedule, won’t anytime soon.  I guess Detroit hasn’t enough of the art school rock mentality.  They are stopping at every city with a communist café (yes, Portland is on the list) and better organic produce options.  Is anyone up for a Chicago trip?