Being one of the Internet's biggest breakout acts is both a blessing and a curse.
Following aggressive attention showered on their 2005 self-titled debut, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah could have stuck with the same winsome formula that helped sell more than 200,000 copies worldwide or veer in a different direction with their second release, Some Loud Thunder. To the dismay of some fans, CYHSY chose the latter, but it shows the band's clever staying power.
The album, produced by indie champion Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips; Mercury Rev), is both serious and whimsical. Gone is the accessible peppiness of the debut replaced by a dark and brooding yet slightly more sophisticated collection. CYHSY hold tightly to their DIY roots and continue to experiment while gathering new momentum. Some Loud Thunder only adds to the band's mystique as singer and songwriter Alec Ounsworth continues his drive to be this generation's David Byrne, with his whiny and weird yet accessible vocals and art house lyrics. The set begins with a slightly annoying fuzzy title track but picks up steam with the unrequitedly loving "Emily Jean Stock," the undulating "Mama, Won't You Keep Them Castles in the Air and Burning?" and the optimistically raucous "Satan Said Dance."
Where the debut came driving out of the gate, Some Loud Thunder shudders at times, but overall has the impact of an imminent storm. True music snobs may initially snub the album, but don't judge "Some Loud Thunder" on the first - or even second - listen; this is an album that gets better over time.
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