Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
By: Eric Greenwood
I hate it when bands publicly deny obvious influences. It's just so pretentious to act like a band you so clearly take after was of no consequence to your development whatsoever. I guess it's just a defensive reaction to the inevitable flack any band would receive for knicking someone else's idiosyncrasies. Just because Clap Your Hands Say Yeah's Alec Ounsworth is an undeniable dead ringer for David Byrne doesn't mean his band doesn't produce infectious and inventive indie rock of its own, but it'd be better if Ounsworth would just cop to the similarities, even if he didn't necessarily mean to sound like David Byrne with severe sinusitis.
So with the inevitable Talking Heads references out of the way, it's easier to focus on what Brooklyn, New York's (by way of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) Clap Your Hands Say Yeah does right. Despite riding an unprecedented, almost gratuitous wave of hype for a self-released album, this band plays solid yet by the numbers post-Modest Mouse indie rock; however, with Ounsworth's bizarre vocal ticks, off-kilter melodies, and sublimely catchy hooks Clap Your Hands Say Yeah sounds like anything but your typical indie rock band infused with a lightning rod of personality. By turns goofy, intellectual, and non-sequitur lyrics are indecipherable without the lyric sheet, but the strangely alluring charm of songs like “The Skin of My Country Yellow Teeth” will have you clamoring for more.