Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah — Some Loud Thunder

First, a point of procedure.

So you know, when our pale simian editor started this site, he made a point of outlawing half star ratings1. No rest for the awesomeYou don’t care, but for us writers, it’s a might maddening. It means we’re denied doling out our fail-safe three and half stars to anything we’re unsure about. Spare me your “These amps go up to 11” jokes, I know it was designed to keep us honest, keep us from pussying out. Deprived of our precious middle ground, we have to take a stand: three stars — bearably average, four stars — untainted aural pleasure.

My money's on Buster DouglasIf you’re hunting for the real-deal Holyfield litmus test on Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s second album, skip ahead to track five, “Satan Says Dance.” It’s not the best song on Some Loud Thunder (“Emily Jean Stock,” ask anybody), not the worst (maybe the endless five and half minutes of “Goodbye to the Mother and the Cove” that stop the record dead, barely to recover), but you’d be hard pressed to find a clearer line drawn right down the middle of the follow-up to a much loved, much hyped debut.

It’s not hard to think of Issac Brook doing something far more compelling with the goof-ball theatrics of “Satan,” or for that matter David Byrne selling it as a real barnburner back in the day with all his fidgety Asperger’s certainty.

Free with 4 proofs of purchase and $2.50 shipping and handlingCertain isn’t how singer/ songwriter Alec Ounsworth sounds on any of these tracks. He’s picked up a fierce mumble to go with his divisive yelp; if he starts to stutter he can send away for the free Clark Kent action figure. On the last record, his Brooklyn compatroits could barely keep up with up with him, delightfully failing just behind his howl on “The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth” and “Tidal Wave of Young Blood.” After months upon months of touring and the audio boost of Dave "Fucking" Friedman, the band is taut and Alec is the one falling back. Where are his witty, witty remarks about David Bowie look-likes or the growling pleas for some salt?

I call him David Faux-ieWell forget it. This record’s not as good, I won’t lie to ya’. Why would anybody in their right mind would miss 2005's, I don’t know, but here we are? We gotta take our fun where we can find it. Which brings us back to “Satan Says Dance.” If after three listens you’re annoyed beyond comprehension, just walk away. But if like me, you start giving into to the space-invader keyboards and kraut rock beat, then everything falls kinda into place. Suddenly you can wait to pile into a dirty club with other dorks in cowboy shirts and screaming the “SAID DANCE” call-and-response.

You start the record over and hold on to that little moment, others come soon after. Nothing grabs you by the throat this time, but given the choice you decide to enjoy it.

Rating: 4/5

- Dmitri Jr

1Ed. note: We work on a strict 1 to 5 scale, where 5 is the best, in case you hadn't noticed yet.

Labels: , ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

CYH&SY? I'll have to illegally download the new one & give it a spin on the ipod (...in my mind). Guess what, I'll stick w/ my copy re-mastered copy of "Weathered" on vinyl thank you very much.


7:26 PM  
Blogger Gorilla said...

You should consider upgrading to an iphone in your mind.

11:50 AM  
Blogger Scott said...

I would like to point out this review was written with what I'm pretty sure was the non-album mix of the title song in mind. I was unaware that the harder, more challenging mix existed until I was recently trying to buy a pair of dungarees and had to listen to that version at full trying-to-be-hip-chain-store volume (yeah it was painful). After talking to some people other people, I realized the crazy version would be the one you get if you bought the CD. So while it’s official, go find the other pleasant mix and throw that on your ipod if you can handle that stuff.

11:02 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home