Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! – Hysterical Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! – Hysterical

2007 was ages ago. While only 4 years prior, what was popular in 2007 seems vintage and slightly nostalgic. Am I being too pretentious? Possibly. Philadelphia/NYC based Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! was a contemporary indie Cinderella story whereby an unsigned band could gain a massive amount attention through a self-released album. The 2005 eponymous debut for the band lead to rave reviews and a background appearance in an episode of The Office (US). Nothing could stop this band as two years later, Some Loud Thunder was released to the drooling ravenous horde which made up the majority of the indie rock audience, even breaking into the mainstream with a top 50 Billboard appearance. And then, nothing. After Some Loud Thunder and a live ITunes release, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! went into hiding. And then, the world changed.

2007’s Some Loud thunder, in retrospect, was incredibly confident in its wailing indie rock approach. The band’s debut shocked and surprised partially due to a slightly laughable name but also by the untrained and unpredictable wail of lead singer Alec Ounsworth. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! amped up the weirdness for Some Loud Thunder and seemed to have all the energy in the world. And then, nothing. 4 years later, the still unsigned prodigal sons return with the release of Hysterical. Things have changed in these four years, but I still think we can find some room for our guests.

Some Loud thunder was marked by a confident approach to vocals and instrumentation. While not as initially grabbing as the eponymous debut, it was more experimental and daring than its predecessor. I only bring up past albums because Hysterical is a completely different type of record. Long gone are the times when the band intentionally fucked with sound settings. Long gone are the days when Ounsworth’s voice flailed in the wind like a weak branch. Hysterical is more meek than both its previous records and is more personal and sometimes more rewarding.

Things which have worked in the past may or may not do well in the present time. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! does this and ultimately makes a record which is a combination of both previous records. Taking the cathy qualities of the self-titled release and marrying it with the experimentalism of Some Loud Thunder, Hysterical proves to be a stable and integrated element. For the first time, Ounsworth is using his voice to evenly reach the altitudes. On tracks like “Maniac” and “Siesta” the song is weighed in melancholy rather than easy to make testicle jokes.

2005’s Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! will forever live in the canon of pre-mainstream indie rock. It will be a time when listeners, despite their education in indie rock, could enjoy an album. 2011 is a different time for the band as things have changed. Indie rock is not, nor will it ever be, what it used to be. Even when it used to be what it was, it wasn’t. Actually, I think it never was what it seemed to be. Regardless, Hysterical could be an album which will gain favor over time. Even after a few listens its quality has not diminished but rather gained resilience in a new decade.


Same Mistake
Misspent Youth
Into Your Alien Arms
In a Motel
Yesterday, Never
Siesta (For Snake)
Ketamine and Ecstasy
The Witness’ Dull Surprise
Adam’s Plane

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! - Hysterical, reviewed by Kaptain Carbon on 2011-09-13T10:51:21-07:00 rating 3.5 out of 5

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