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4.4 out of 5 stars31
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 27 November 2006
I bought it on a whim, and now I can't stop listening to this album.

I'd heard good things about Clap Your Hands, but like many bands that I hear good things about, I expected to be disappointed. So it was a really pleasant surprise when from the outset, I really enjoyed the album. I'm more of a rock/metal sort of person, and I'd probably describe this as pop, but what excellent pop! Has a great upbeat tempo, that makes you feel happy.

It is one of those sort of bands that you want to liken to something, but you struggle to pin down. It definitely has a Talking Heads vibe in places, it sometimes reminds me of the Cure, Arcade Fire, Flaming Lips or Violent Femmes, it often has a similar electronica sound to the Human League, and has a lot of the simplistic brilliance of the Beta Band. The lead singer is a bit nasally for my liking (think Rufus Wainright), but for some reason it seems to work.

Buy it, it's cheap, and it'll make you smile!
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on 11 January 2006
Comparisons with early period 'Talking Heads' are inevitable but 'Clap Your Hands Say Yeah' add a great deal of fun to the new wave revival (if there is one!) With skewed vocals and addictive tunes that bend and stretch until you feel dizzy but delighted. The first listen leaves you feeling that you missed something, but it certainly drags you back in for another listen with the two tracks 'Over and Over Again' and 'The Skin of my Yellow country Teeth' jumping out of the speakers at you.
If you enjoy quirky off the wall bands and singers such as the aforementioned 'Talking Heads' and others like 'XTC', 'The Modern Lovers' or even 'Cake' then you can't possibly ignore this offering. Next big thing? Nope-too specialist. But that's a good thing. Now I'm off to play it once more.
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on 1 November 2006
This album is fantastic. They have a really new sound - despite whatever people say about comparisons to various bands, their sound is their own - and the songs are catchy, musically intelligent and have great lyrics. It's very different from a lot of the overly commercialised stuff around at the moment - don't get me wrong, some of that is great but this is a breath of fresh air. I suppose generally they could be classed as indie - they're more mellow than you might expect from hearing that, but at the same time this is great to dance to and is really uplifting. Tracks like Over and Over Again (Lost & Found) and The Skin of my Yellow Country Teeth are simply beautiful and this album stands being played over and over again itself. This band has great potential and this is a stunning debut.
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on 30 December 2006
I have to admit, I dismissed this band before I'd even heard their music - I initially placed them into the same pile as all those other bands with ridiculous, longwinded, clever names. Thankfully I was proven wrong.

Not an album I would ever have come to if it weren't for having read the CYHSY mentioned in the same sentence as Mercury Rev, Rufus Wainwright, Flaming Lips etc - comparisons which I can hear. Pleasantly suprised by this album - highly recommend it - particular highlight being 'Details of War'.
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At least twice a year, indie-rock buzz reaches a frenzy over some new, strange band, usually with a funny name and a sound that is different from any other new band.

This year, it's the turn of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah's self-titled debut, which may have the most unbearably twee name of the year. But don't get hung up on that. Their music is what matters, and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah evoke charming melodies, catchy tunes, and maybe a bit of the madcap carnival.

It opens with an imitation of a carnie, calling in an insane, unenthusiastic crowd. Singer Alec Ounsworth seems to be calling people in to enjoy the music, by telling them to "clap your hands!" over and over, with the crowd replying, ""But I have no money!/But it don't seem likely/Are you up to somethin?/Where's my milk'n'honey?/But I just look funny..."

It's a delightful intro, but a good album needs more than that. And it does just that, by quickly seguing into clean indie-pop with pulsating basslines. Then Ounsworth and Co. introduce us to some murky, fuzzy dance music, folk pop, sparkling indie pop with jangling guitars, and even a sort of sweeping twee synthy pop. It shouldn't fit together as well as it does, but the upbeat tone and sparkling melodies stick all these styles together.

One of the closest comparisons to this album is Arcade Fire's "Funeral" from last year, since both of them sport a unique sound and eclectic instrumentation. But where Arcade Fire is downbeat, these guys are resolutely weird, upbeat and cheery.

They also have a special way with creating catchy pop -- most catchy stuff is very simple and forgettable. But Clap Your Hands Say Yeah weave in layered guitars, toy piano, low-key bass and some buzzing, fuzzy synth with tight acoustic melodies. The result is driving, energetic music that is anything but forgettable.

Alec Ounsworth has a sort of "indie voice" like Jeff Mangum's, a bit flat in places. But the crazier the song gets, the better he sounds, and he yowls and yodels as if he really is bringing people into a circus. And while the songs seem oblique, they gradually take on meaning: "Success is so forbidding/But it makes me think I'm winning/Quiet/Dim the lights/Adopt another lifestyle..."

Is Clap Your Hands Say Yeah as good as they say? It's certainly a contender. This charming mad melange has charm, beauty and entertainment, and is definitely worth getting.
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on 13 December 2005
Hyperbole dominates rock music, thanks to journalism, we are encouraged to listen to certain bands, and the whole experience can get somewhat draining. Thankfully, some critics get it right. The recent success of The Arcade Fire has opened a gateway for anything alternative and folkish. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! have been recently pedalled, deserving it more than a slew of semi-talented attention grabbers.
'Heavy Metal' is a go-getter of an eighth track! Warbly, demented and twee, it progresses steadily like the soundtrack to a Commodore game. When absurd tunes become infectious, there's a jackpot waiting at the end of the rainbow. Let these lovelies pick up a few! Ahhh...
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on 5 January 2006
This is one of those albums that takes a couple of listens and then becomes essential.
On first listen - I'd suggest jumping straight to "The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth" as that is by far the most accessable track and let's you know what you're in for (as opposed to the opening "Clap Your Hands" which is like nothing else on the album, and could be quite offputting to a new listener)
Alec Ounsworth's vocals are cetainly a challenge on the first few listens. AO's voice warbles around in pitch and seems just plain bad the first time ... but then it grows on you and becomes the only voice you can imagine singing these songs.
The comparison to David Byrne is a bit of a journalistic stretch ... he doesn't sound that much like DB, but probably closer to DB than anyone else most people have heard of ... I'd also throw in comparisons to Darren Hayman (Hefner) in that the voice is not great - but somehow perfect for the songs at the same time.
Lyrically the songs are complex and wonderful ... Musically the album is full of catchy indie-pop tunes focussed over repeated riffs and building melodies (tied in with those obscure vocals)
All in all an essential Indie-pop album
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on 21 February 2006
It's a great album. I agree with the David Byrne comparison, but it also puts me in mind of the (probably by now uncool) Kings Of Leon.
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on 13 February 2006
It’s becoming a familiar story; band discovers the internet; internet falls in love with the band; .mp3s circulate and before any record label can say, “sign on the dotted line,” the band have already hawked thousands of copies online. The Arctic Monkeys may be this island’s most famous exponent of the internet, but Clap Your Hands Say Yeah have been doing the same thing across the Atlantic. But, for those of us who prefer artwork, liner notes and stuff, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah have released their debut album in the UK through Wichita.
Before we begin, let’s get this out of the way; yes, vocalist Alec Ounsworth sounds more than a bit like David Byrne. But to deride the album on those grounds would be preposterous. The tone may be similar, but Ounsworth staggers his way through the album with such a giddying slur that the imperfections in his voice succeed in embellishing the tight arrangements that surround it.
The maniacally kitsch carnival of the eponymous opener recalls Tom Waits, but, while dazzling, it’s not indicative of what follows. Only the dreamlike ramble at the conclusion of the track sets the tone for the rest of the album. The rampant tambourine and crisp drum rolls of Let The Cool Goddess Rust Away follows and is quickly succeeded by the crazed synths and tangled guitar of Over And Over Again (Lost And Found).
Details Of War is as close to a torch song as the band are ever likely to record. Ounsworth leaves his Byrne impression aside, adopts a weary croon and ends up sounding like Seven-era Tim Booth. The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth, with its buzzing synth, Modest Mouse-esque trebly guitar and shuffling drums, is another stand out. Here, Ounsworth is entirely in his element. With the urgency ramped up, his voice cracks and then cascades to the song’s conclusion. Immediately after, last year’s single, Is This Love?, has Ounsworth offer his most dizzying harmony; a pattern which carries over onto Heavy Metal, arguably the poppiest track on the album and, also, perhaps the most extraordinary.
But, just as you might fear the album will collapse under the weight of ambition; incredible album closer Upon This Tidal Wave Of Young Blood conclude with the needle being simply pulled from the record. Ounsworth has barely finished caterwauling the plight of child stars and the band are locked into a hypnotic melody; the terse silencing of the song and of the album mid-flow is entirely unexpected, but then Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are a band with little time for subtlety.
Where the band go from here is anyone’s guess, but as an opening gambit, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is nothing short of staggering.
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on 23 January 2007
The quick and simple answer is YES ! This is a great album with a fantastic sound.

I suppose the thing everyone focuses on are the vocals which may be off putting to some but are easily as much a part of the music as any of the instruments and the album simply wouldn't have worked as well without the unique sound that is generated by them.

In a summer where every album sounded the same this one was a welcome relief & having seen these guys perform live at the tail end of last year it was nice to hear that in these days of mass post production studio touch-up's they sound exactly the same on stage as they do on the album.
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