clap-your-hands-say-yeah-hysterical-artwork

It’s been quite some time since we heard anything new from these erstwhile masters of yelpy indie; the band went on a complete hiatus in mid 2009, and their last full-length release was ‘Some Loud Thunder’ in 2007. This album, it’s fair to say, will be genuinely anticipated.

Opener, ‘Same Mistake’, kicks in like an Arcade Fire album track played at 45rpm… then drops into a chorus which is like an anthem on amphetamines. Alec Ounsworth uses the yelps sparingly too; it’s a promising start. ‘Hysterical’ is fast, punky and heavy, but ‘Maniac’ doesn’t know quite what it wants to be and winds up falling between the two stools of punk-pop and jangly indie. There are a couple of ballads here too, which Ounsworth’s voice is oddly suited to. But the upbeat stuff, played to that relentless beat, begins to wear as the album rolls on.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah seem to have lost the fire and the soul shown in previous albums, that substance replaced by something that feels pretty thin in terms of the songwriting. It’s actually something of an effort to make it all the way to the end of this album. From a band capable of majesty, it’s made all the more disappointing.

By Chris Watkeys