Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Clap Your Hands Everybody!

I'm currently listening to the new Clap Your Hands' release via their MySpace site. So, I'll try to comment as it goes...

First of all, I could not get the first track (Some Loud Thunder) to download, but beyond that, it's working. The second track sounds like a young Dylan singing with the Velvet Underground with production by the Flaming Lips and a little Phil Spector mixed in. It's really quite dramatic and full. The chorus certainly sounds like classic Clap Your Hands with Alec Ounsworth crooning over-top.

The third track has a repetitive guitar whine and steady bass line that makes you want to dream. It's very dreamy with a feel-good chorus; very sing-songy. The chorus then unravels into overdubs of the group's voices in sort of an indie-doo-wop moment. Phil Spector comes to mind again when the song begins to rock out down the stretch. This song feels. I get a real early Who or Stones or Beatles feel. The production reminds me a lot of what the Shins did on their first record only with more of everything.

I'm having trouble with several of the tracks playing, so I've skipped down to #7 "Goodbye to Mother and the Cove." It seems to be instrumental. There's a very repetitive electric piano or something line with some noodly guitar...oh wait, there's Alec. He breaks in with a long "She smiles, then she laughs and then..." It's that soothing mumbling he does so well. This is a real head-bobber with a Thom Yorke-like vocal performance and story. The bridge is interesting with organ notes over guitar. Alec breaks in with a desperate plea over marching drums. All the while, the keyboards continue. Then, the overdubs of Alec and others with a sweet, sweet melody. This song ends well. Wow!

I'm jumping around, looking for tracks that work. #8 (Arm and Hammer) starts with the familiar hiss of a 4-track machine. This has got to be the most low-fi track I've heard these guys do. It doesn't sound like them at all, but it takes me back 12 years. Mostly acoustic guitar with some angry punk singing. I did not expect this track.

Next is "Yankee Go Home". It's a down-tempo story-telling showstopper. It has a very show tune feel. The chorus rocks so theatrically. Again, organs carry the middle of the song. A nice understated Pavement/Television guitar solo fits in and Alec comes back with his spooky growl. This is the darkest one yet...of course, I haven't heard half the tracks. I'm liking the freak outs around the chorus of "Yankee Go, Yankee Go...Hoooome...(something) Get used to it, Get used to it..." If the last record was their ode to Talking Heads, this song makes me think Television. The dramatic drumming and repeated chorus leading down the homestretch hollers, "extended jam opportunity!"

I've had no luck trying to listen to the other tracks. I guess I'll just have to wait for my copy to come in the mail. I'm really looking forward to "Satan Said Dance."

Oh wait...that Satan song is playing. It's loaded with noise and fast. I'll have to stop there. Must go pick up partner from work. Either way, I'm excited for this record. Sorry if I've lost anyone.

The track listing is as follows...
1. Some Loud Thunder
2. Emily Jean Stock
3. Mama, Won't You Keep Them Castles in the Air and Burning?
4. Love Song No.7
5. Satan Said Dance
6. Upon Encountering the Crippled Elephant
7. Goodbye to Mother and the Cove
8. Arm and Hammer
9. Yankee Go Home
10. Underwater (You and Me)
11. Five Easy Pieces

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