So, thereâ€™s a rash of bad follow-ups lately. And, unfortunately, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is one of the victims. On its second full-length, the band manages to subvert all the nuances that made its debut great, while magnifying all the annoying bits. Alec Ounsworthâ€™s voice has always been one unhinged-spastic-horse-neigh away from unlistenable, and he pounces on your last nerves with this new batch of tunes.
Some Loud Thunder isnâ€™t even a slow-grower. The hooks are just glaringly absent, save for â€œLove Song No. 7â€ and â€œUnderwater (You and Me).â€ The pacing is glacial. Itâ€™s a departure for sure, but itâ€™s almost as though Ounseworth is trying to make the music as difficult and inaccessible as possible. Busy, multi-tracked vocalizations run rampant. The songs lack tautness, aimlessly ambling far too long for any real momentum to be gained, despite Ounseworthâ€™s by turns clever and ridiculous lyrical diversions.
The overdriven production on the opening track keeps the bandâ€™s tradition of gratuitously bad openers intact. Honestly, this record is a struggle to sit through. The â€œsophomore slumpâ€ clichÃ© doesnâ€™t quite cover the problem here. The bandâ€™s debut, despite the unintentionally brilliant word of mouth marketing, gelled in such a way that it captured a familiar feeling that everything fell right into place by some stroke of unimaginable luck with its melodic bass leads, subtle keyboards and jangly guitars. This record is its antithesis: forced and awkward and boring.