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Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Some Loud Thunder

Released on Wichita Recordings, 1/30/07

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah received an astonishing amount of attention in 2005 when their self-titled, self- released album was released. The buzz surrounding said album drew David Bowie and David Byrne to a few of the band’s shows. The interest of Byrne is not terribly surprising as lead vocalist, Alec Ounsworth sounds eerily similar to him at times.

The overwhelming demand for the first album forced the band to repress the CD as the initial production was too small. No such problem will be encountered for CYHSY’s sophomore effort Some Loud Thunder. Signed to Wichita Recordings in the UK, it’s likely the album will make CYHSY a boatload of cash this year and it’s largely warranted.

While the sound of Some Loud Thunder is no departure from CYHSY’s debut, that’s not such a bad thing. CYHSY has not lost the ability to ably marry Ounsworth’s distinctive vocals, clever lyrics, and brilliant orchestration.

CYHSY gets things rolling with the aptly titled "Some Loud Thunder". Ounsworth comically mulls over the tendency of some to be a bit on the garrulous side: "tell me when do mouths close and people gracefully retreat?" Amusing lyrics complemented with an abundance of the often underutilized cowbell serve as a nice way to get the hands clapping.

The tongue in cheek, dark whimsy continues with "Mama, Won’t You Keep Them Castles in the Air and Burning?" The title of this track alone is memorable. Once again, the lyrics of this one will grab some attention as well. Much of Ounsworth’s crooning revolves around irreconcilable differences between two estranged lovers and the frustrations of creating and sustaining relationships, a topic that no doubt will resonate for many. CYHSY knocks out another winner with this one.

By far, my favorite track in the lot would be "Satan Said Dance". Reeking of sacrilege and brimstone, this hysterical track likens hours wasted on the dance floor as nothing short of dark, dippy, demonic possession. However, it’s a possession that one can’t help but embrace. The rhythmic, organ infused "Satan Said Dance" is bound to get crowds bouncing and flashing the number of the beast.

CYHSY wraps up their second album with "Five Easy Pieces", a track that pretty much captures the essence of the human experience….bittersweet, ecstatic, mournful, and everything in between. "Too big, too strong, too weak, too long," as Ounsworth sings. The inclusion of the harmonica in the song is a wonderful touch that adds a subtle undertone of melancholia.

For those who raved about CYHSY’s debut album, there’s little to be disappointed about in Some Loud Thunder, you’re getting more of the same. While this is largely a good thing as CYHSY’s sound is unarguably infectious, it would be nice to see CYHSY stretch a little bit more. But, ultimately this is a very minor criticism for an album that’s absolutely worth more than a few spins.

Rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars