Jan 29, 2007

Some Loud Thunder-Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Ahh, the difficult second album. Very hard to get right sometimes, do you push your boundaries, do you play safe and just reproduce the first one? Especially hard if the first one made a splash with the fans and critics. It seems to me that Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are the obvious band that people are hoping to see fail. Pitchfork loved their self released debut and by the time of their just released second album people are waiting to poke holes in it in this seemingly cynical age. Fair enough if you don't dig this band for your own reasons. But "Some Loud Thunder" is really impressing me and I think if you give it a chance you might be impressed too. Now I loved their eponymous debut, its blend of danceable grooves, indie guitar lines, cryptic lyrics and Alec Ounsworth's unique voice were things I cherished. Some people seem to have a problem with Mr Ounsworth's voice, not me, for me it is a significant factor in my liking this record. It has been well written about that uber producer Dave Fridmann took the controls for "Some Loud Thunder" and that could have been a major misstep. For the opening title track is buried underneath a wall of static that will unfortunately put a lot of people off. I have heard the original and it is an irresistable pop gem. Which is more the pity. Even the second track "Emily Jean Stock", a fine song, has some fuzz on it. But then the next song "Mama, Won't You Keep Those Castles In The Air & Burning?" lifts the record into important territory. I have no idea what Alec is singing about, but God i love this song, it is epic. Thereafter the record doesn't have any major flaws, except for the dirge like "Love Song No. 7", that it is one I'm not getting much out of. If you liked the debut for its sunny pop and danceable tunes then you might find "Some Loud Thunder" a bit of a slog, the only 'pop' song is really "Underwater (You & Me)". But the band has shown quite a deal of growth, "Goodbye To The Mother & The Cove" and "Yankee Go Home" are very impressive songs with great power and range. And the closer "Five Easy Pieces" is a nice way to finish with its gentle swaying mood. Plus the live staple "Satan Said Dance" is included and this song just kills live. So in summing up, despite the difficult opening, I believe the band has really tried to serve up something significant and on the whole delivers. I would give it a very solid 8 out of ten and I believe I will be playing this heavily in 2007.

Update: Pitchfork just gave it a respectable 7.2. The review is actually very well written and makes a lot of good points.
Buy at Insound.
MP3: Some Loud Thunder (live, as it could have sounded)
MP3: Underwater (You & Me)

5 Comments:

  • At January 29, 2007 , Anonymous James said...

    Yeah I'm keen to hear this record.

    By any chance, have you heard the new Arcade Fire?

     
  • At January 29, 2007 , Blogger Wayne said...

    The more I think of it, I think the new CYHSY won't be universally loved, but I think they have still produced a fine record.

    I have heard 5 tracks from Neon Bible, off various blogs. I know it has leaked, but I prefer to wait until the CD is released now to hear it in full. From what I have heard I think it will great but next to impossible to be another Funeral.

     
  • At January 29, 2007 , Blogger Jaime said...

    I can see how people would dislike the static on the opener but I actually really like it. It makes it sound even more crazy when the chorus breaks out. Definitely a solid record

     
  • At January 30, 2007 , Blogger Passion of the Weiss said...

    I like this album quite a bit. i actually like it more than the Arcade Fire which surprised me. Then again, I never seem to like the albums that leak early so maybe I should show your levels of patience.
    Either way, this is better than a 7.2 and the B- Stylus gave it. I think like Arcade Fire, they're probably unfairly compared to what came before it. Although, I don't know how to avoid don't something like that.

     
  • At February 02, 2007 , Blogger Peter said...

    .....the first song.....the first three times I listened to the album, i skipped it before it ended....i still can't stand it. As for the album, it is slowly growing. You wouldn't happen to have a copy of that original would you?

     

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