Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, 'Some Loud Thunder' (Self-released)

7
Some Loud Thunder
Critical Mass
Label: Self-released

by Peter Gaston

All of the dreams that little bands dream actually came true for Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. They sold a lot of albums without a record label, toured the world, earned endearments from both the staunchest scenesters and industry bigwigs. Legends they probably idolized -- David Byrne and David Bowie -- appeared at their gigs. As 2005's indie-rock revival wound down, no new band meant more to the blog-obsessed, BitTorrent-blazing generation of music consumers than they did.

And while the band's uneven live shows have left more than a few early adopters dismayed, this set of songs recaptures much of their original nonchalant magic. It's intentionally raw, with singer Alec Ounsworth's already squeaky voice warped to near-painful levels of distortion on the title track, an unsure confessional constructed off some great opening verses. "That's just a part of the story," Ounsworth squeals. "Well, it could maybe be something complete."

Thunder has its familiar moments -- the giddy faux-disco "Satan Said Dance" and the pretty, Elvis Costello-like love song "Emily Jean Stock" have been staples of the band's live set -- but it's also a deft move in an unexpectedly retro direction. "Underwater (You and Me)" finds Ounsworth sounding like Buddy Holly, and the rousing tale of nationalistic confusion "Yankee Go Home" borrows its architecture from Motown, but in a streamlined garage-pop way. So save your bandwidth, kids. It's a good one.

Now Hear This: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - "Love Song No. 7" DOWNLOAD MP3

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