Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah

Posted By on Wed, Aug 17, 2005 at 12:00 AM

Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah’s self-titled debut begins with a revival organ and the froggy wail of Alec Ounsworth. It’s not really an opening song. It sounds like Ounsworth sitting in a tiny apartment imagining the opening song of his band’s album, if they were to make it. Well, Clap Your Hands made it, and mostly thanks to the Internet (which seems to be really catching on), you’re hearing about it. Hands revels indie pop’s sweetness and clever theft, but makes New York City claustrophobia seem like its key component. Which is screwy — indie pop comes from flats in Glasgow or the suburbs. It doesn’t like New York’s soot, split leather and cigarette butts. And yet it all fits into that mental broadcast of Ounsworth’s. An overheard snippet of chintzy toy piano (of course!) sets up the dramatic build of “Details of the War.” “In This Home on Ice” is vintage Sonic Youth half-hummed while waiting for the train, and the gentle instrumental “Blue Turning Gray” might’ve been dreamed up on a fire escape with rain plinking off the cast iron. Clever, catchy and a little depressed, Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah are like a Shins for the five boroughs.

Johnny Loftus writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail letters@metrotimes.com.

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