Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Sorry about the hurried entry for yesterday. I might have to revisit it at a later date.
Today though its more Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and their debut self titled album.
Many years ago, either late 2004 or early 2005 whilst downloading illegal music on Soulseek, actually was the music illegal or the activity, or was it the format that the music came in? Whats illegal about MP3’s? OK, so some years ago I was downloading music illegally. It was The Magic Numbers, and I was after some of their demo’s, hold on if it was demo’s was that illegal? They were probably given out free, after all who charges for demos?
Anyway, I started downloading these demos and the girl I was downloading off suggested that I try some demos by a New York based band, clap Your Hands Say Yeah. As friends will tell you, those demos changed my life musically, well I say changed my life, if I was listening to purely gospel music and then started listening to CYHSY, then yes it would change have changed my life, but it did at least make me love a new band. I pretty much, actually, I did buy everything the band released from then on in, including the self released, self titled album.
Before I comment on the album, CYHSY are as I have said a New York based band, featuring the songwriting talents of Alec Ounsworth, Ounsworth is still based in Philadelphia and of late has been releasing material under his own name and as part of Flashy Python, the latter released some CYHSY demos under their own name a few years back too.
Anyway, I managed to catch the band live a few years back, and although I still adore the bands music, they are absolutely dreadful live, I mean shocking. They do write good songs though.
That all said, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, initially released by the band in 2005, and then re-released by Wichita Recordings in 2006. 12 tracks.
The album is maybe one of my favourite albums. I think its faultless and each and every track is a joy to listen to even now after playing it a million times and badgering people that they are the greatest band since Hefner. They aren’t but as is the case with me, THE greatest thing ever is fleeting and I always do believe at that point whatever it is I am talking about is the best or greatest ever.
So this album is a lot more earthy and shambolic, and more urgent than its successor. Some Loud Thunders polished the rough edges of the self titles, lest you hurt yourself. Some Loud Thunder maybe had one eye on the indie dance crossover second coming that was emanating out of New York at the time with the likes of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Rapture and the mightily awful Gossip. The self titled wants you to dance, but more dervish than Studio 54, more piano rolls than roller disco. If my steering wheel could be annoyed at the over exuberant drumming, it would.
I thought I knew what was my favourite on this album, Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth, but then I hear and remember On This Tidal Wave Of Young Blood with its Dave Byrne vocal leanings and yelps, its hard not to love it.
Byrnes New York is the major influence on this album and that is the voice that critics have compared Ounsworths to the most. It is there but it is an influence and not a karaoke version from Star In Their Eyes.
Details of The War slows the pace a little and gives you time to breath, and gives the steering wheel a chance to recover, the pace though is steady and the right choice of instruments reminds me a little of their compatriots, The National. Not too much though.
All in all this is one of my very favourite albums, excellent in every way, superb. 10 out of 10.

This is a very odd video put together by someone, that isn’t them but others. The music is though.

Upon This Tidal Wave Of Young Blood by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

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