|Clap Your Hands Say Yeah||2005||2.50/pi|
Like the Arcade Fire before them, the Clap play a sort of kinder, gentler post-punk, uniting the harsh polyrhthms of 1978 with the friendly, homemade aesthetics of indie pop. But the Sound of One Hand Clap Your Fuck Yeah God Damn Soldiers of Cock dispense with the orchestral melodrama, stripping things down to standard rock instrumentation. Which isn’t to say that they rock any harder—this is pretty sedate stuff, danceable but unobtrusive, multilayered but never chaotic.
Alec Ounsworth’s vocals have frequently been compared to such post-punk icons as David Byrne. But where Byrne yelped and overenunciated like he was hopelessly trying to stem back the flood of syllables, Ounsworth is a happy, somnolent drunk—more spiritually akin to the unintelligible murmur of Thom Yorke.
To some degree, the band’s music qualifies as an unintelligible murmur as well. In many ways, this thing is comparable to REM’s Murmur, an album about which I am similarly ambivalent. It’s an almost flawless set of songs, but it never really takes any risks either…unless you count the inane circus barker intro track. Which I prefer not to. The band executes its formula with great care, and even has the generosity to differentiate most of the songs in some small clever way, but there’s a lack of really big hooks.
“The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth” might be the best song, even though it sort-of-bites its distinctive slidey riff from a Faith Healers song. Closer “Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood” is as near as these guys come to anthemic, an anti-war call to anti-arms in which some actual god damn urgency nearly breaks through into Ounsworth’s “look at me, I’m a stupid asshole who is stupid” vocals.