Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Some Loud Thunder (Wichita) (*Web)

A slow burning classic? I think so…

Album Review by Finbarr Bermingham | 10 Feb 2007
  • Some Loud Thunder <br/>
Album title: Some Loud Thunder
Artist: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Label: *Web
The level of anticipation surrounding CYHSY's second album is a measure of how far the US east-coasters have come in the past year. Their eponymous debut, pressed in lead singer Alec Ounsworth's bedroom, was a beautiful hodgepodge of jerkiness and loveliness that served as a petard under the seat of many who forgot that rock music could be such fun. It shouldn't have worked, but by Jove it did. Despite the puzzlingly poor recording quality of the title / opening track, Some Loud Thunder is absolutely not 'CYHSY #2'. Aided by the impious hand of knob twiddling virtuoso Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips), the second album, barely a year after its predecessor, is a massive departure and a massive risk, but one which ultimately pays off.

Recruiting Fridmann was a brave move and this writer for one was sceptical upon learning of his appointment. One of the many endearing aspects of the first album was its phosphorescence and effervescence; it was guaranteed to be fizzing in your ears hours after listening. Indeed, upon initial listens I was unsure whether I even liked Some Loud Thunder. My ears yearned for the truculent bass lines that dragged Clap Your Hands Say Yeah through 2006, here replaced by subtle lo-fi attention to detail and patient instrumentation. Multiple listens, however, reveal a more satisfying element. Depth. Unforeseeably experimental in nature, the extra dimension is obvious on the excellent 'Love Song Number 7' and the sumptuous 'Goodbye to Mother and The Cove'. The first inclination of an upbeat effort, 'Satan Said Dance', is reminiscent of Radiohead circa Kid A with its muffled industrial intonations, and is possibly the most dancefloor friendly track present, whilst the only real disappointment on the album is the weak 'Arm and Hammer.'

The most noteworthy transformation may be the shifting in role of Ounsworth's unmistakeable voice. On the first album, at times it threatened to take over, while under the guidance of Fridmann it is a used an element of the overall laboratory of sounds bubbling within Some Loud Thunder. It is debatable as to whether the change in direction from the band is deliberately angled at those detractors that unfairly denounced CYHSY as 'one trick ponies' or whether this is a natural evolution in sound. Either way, it highlights that there is more substance than some previously thought. Whether this is a better album remains to be seen. but twelve months ago, few recognised the staying power of the immediately pleasing debut. A year from now, will Some Loud Thunder still be rolling in our ears? Proabably. A slow burning classic? I think so… [Finbarr Bermingham]
Release Date: 29 Jan.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah play Barrowlands Glasgow, 3 Feb.