The self-produced, self-released 2005 debut from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
was an indie rock revelation with perfect jangle pop sensibility as led by singer-guitarist Alec Ounsworth, who channeled the vocal phrasing and intonations of David Byrne but added his own unhinged warbly twang.
There wasn’t a bad track to be found on that album — and it's hard to pick the best of the set. From the circus barker opening of "Clap Your Hands" to the mid-tempo New Wave groove of "Over and Over Again (Lost and Found)," to the urgent synth drive of "The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth" and yearning howls of "Is This Love," to the goose-bump inducing (and personal favorite), “Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood,” with its 30x repeated refrain. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
earned the group a healthy fanbase on blog buzz alone, a rather novel marketing platform at the time that has since become the standard.
The years since have seen less-well-received follow-ups — 2007's Some Loud Thunder
in 2011 — and the exit of three original members, leaving Ounsworth and drummer/percussionist Sean Greenhalgh to figure out how to work this year’s just-released fourth LP, Only Run.
The band's latest has a dark, synth-aggressive trajectory littered with melodic sonic sparkle and broken up by slower-paced contemplative interludes. Ounsworth still has those distinctive pipes, though he’s a bit more restrained in his use of them.
Here's hoping the band's stop at Orpheum yields some vintage first-album material along with all the expected newer fare. That material is what put them on the map, after all...
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah with Stagnant Pools, Thurs., June 5, 8:30 p.m., Orpheum, Ybor City, $16.
"Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood" audio, off 2005's Clap Your Hands Say Yeah)
"As Always" official music video; off 2014's Only Run.