Clap Your Hands Say Yeah- Little Moments EP
The indie rock staple returns as a duo, do they work it? Only partially. Written for Pop ‘stache, read below:
Whiny vocal familiarity and long, minimal instrumental jams represent the Clap Your Hands Say Yeah we knew eight years ago. Since the slow dissipation of fame following the group’s popular 2005 self-titled debut, members of the indie-rock staple band seemed to focus more on their various side projects than on keeping CYHSY fresh or prominent. Only frontman Alec Ounsworth and percussionist Sean Greenhalgh remain on Little Moments, the now duo’s latest reinventive release—a four-track EP released July 22 and available for streaming on its Bandcamp page.
Although it doesn’t sound like CYHSY is necessarily striving for any certain trendy, synth-pop sound, as Little Moments begins, it is what the duo assertively achieves. In other words, the mostly electric backdrop is hugely different from its previous sound, but it doesn’t sound forced, unnatural, or obligatory. It works, almost as if Ounsworth and Greenhalgh were waiting for a wholly committed core to exist before really working again. 2011’s Hysterical, a dull attempt after four years to create new music with an old formula, prompted the two former members to check out shortly after, pushing the band’s robust void into new territories.
Little Moments features constantly rolling electric chords in the title track and the same sharp-hooked, uniquely melodic vocal yodels from old favorites “Is This Love?” and “The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth.”
Guitar picks have been replaced with deep-bass synth, and not much difference pokes through until the second original, “Only Run.” A trippy spoken intro propels its prelude into the charismatic world of electro-sampling, and brooding distortions follow as the song relies on a simple drum pattern and Ounsworth’s wavering high pitches. This ominousity sets listeners up for extra gratitude when the pitches align into more beautiful chords for the last minute of the song, and again here, the electric production doesn’t intrude or distract from CYHSY’s signature pleasures.
The EP gets weak exactly when the electronic sounds begin to overpower with bold ’80s synth reverb and superimposed combinations. The two B-sides finish the EP with the feeling of forced attempts at modernization.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah never sounded like Kavinsky or The Smiths, and its reach toward these sounds with “Heaven” and “Once” leave us yearning for the guitar and bass players that left the band just over a year ago. Let’s hope that CYHSY can maintain the magic that fans love on its full length album, already set for release early next year.