See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

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


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

More by Johnny Loftus

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 21, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit