Overproduction and annoyances plague band’s second album
The so-called sophomore release is what makes or breaks a band. The first release whets the appetite and leaves fans wanting more. But is Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s second album, “Some Loud Thunder,” really what fans have been waiting for?
The Brooklyn- and Philadelphia-based band was all the rage in the blogging world after self-releasing its first album in 2005. The band wowed audiences with the ability to completely avoid the corporate media and record companies by releasing its own album on its own label. But is it the band’s do-it-yourself outlook on music that actually appeals to the crowd, or is it CYHSY’s music? Unfortunately, this time around, the album’s music doesn’t compensate for the lack of blog buzz.
CYHSY teamed up with producer Dave Fridmann, who’s worked with such names as the Flaming Lips, Weezer, Mercury Rev, Elf Power, Mogwai, Thursday and Sleater-Kinney.
The first song sets the feel of the album that can only be summed up in two words: over production. The title track has a great melody and is extremely catchy, but the over-produced distortion distracts the listener. Frontman Alec Ounsworth still uses his signature high, whiny David Byrne voice, which is endearing the first few times through the CD, but annoying on subsequent listens.
The second song of the album, “Emily Jean Stock,” soothes the ears after the abrasive beginning fades out. In the typical CYHSY style of guitar, accordions, trumpets, piano, drums, etc., the band doesn’t stray far from the first album.
In comparison to the debut album, “Clap Your Hands Say Yeah,” that flirted with its listeners and urged everyone to fall in love with CYHSY, “Some Loud Thunder” has less of a focus. And after the first half of the album, there’s no direction at all. Unlike the normal feeling of traveling through the artist’s head, a feeling of disjointedness permeates “Some Loud Thunder.”
The energy of the first release is also lacking in this album. “Some Loud Thunder” still has that jangly-pop aspect, but with a tempo that’s been taken down a few notches. The album is less danceable than the first, excluding the song “Satan Said Dance,” that is sure to be a hit at indie dance parties. Lead singer Ounsworth chants, “Satan, Satan, Satan, said dance,” in amid fast drum beats and catchy guitar riffs, not to mention the blips of electronic keyboards that escape between Ounsworth singing “No whips, no chains, just dancing, dancing, dancing.”
After this, the album slowly goes downhill with songs that would be more fitting as B-sides than anything else. For a sophomore album, “Some Loud Thunder” isn’t all bad. There are definitely catchy hooks and songs that make the feet tap, but if that’s all it has to offer, CYHSY should get back on the blogs to promote its next album, which will hopefully blow this one out of the sophomore slump.
Recommended if you like: Broken Social Scene, The Arcade Fire, Neutral Milk Hotel, Modest Mouse, Wolf Parade . indie music in general.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Jenny Bergen at Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org.