Out and About: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
  • THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2011

  • Posted by: Joe Puglisi

Earlier this week, the Bowery Ballroom was momentarily stuck out of time as 2005 invaded to see Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Their new album Hysterical dropped on Tuesday, and was promptly well received at their show by the gaggle of fans who more or less forgot about them for five years. The songs aren't exactly the same true-blue "indie rock" that made their right place-at-the-right-time self-titled debut such an internet smash, or the scattered sophomore LP that subsequently had the blogosphere chew them up and spit them out. Rather, it seems, Hysterical is the band at its most authentic, progressing to new turf while maintaining Ounsworth's signature timbre, and when presented side-by-side with the classics we love, made for a truly enjoyable outing.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah solidified the term "indie rock" as a go-to, lazy genre term for the blogosphere; anything a little alternative and off the beaten path, perhaps with a lead singer who sounded a bit off-kilter or unique. But in the wake of their fall from favor, I totally forgot how much I straight-up loved some of these songs, more than the hype or the coolness factor. They meant something different. The giddy momentum of "Is This Love?" and the quirky blissful riff of "The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth", all the words came flooding back as the packed Bowery Ballroom bopped and chanted. The Hysterical stuff fit right in to the mood of excitement and energy, meshing like fortuitous friends of friends.

So the new stuff inspired the same enjoyment as some of the more nostalgic moments, the band taking it all in with a humble nod and not much else. Ounsworth almost dropped his guitar in the beginning of the set, and let out a hearty "that was awkward." Some might have taken that as a nod to the entire evening, a strange mixture of audience members and age brackets. But we beg to differ, the rampant memory driven-love was anything but awkward—it's good to remember old friends in new ways, and we were all brought there not by hype, but by sincere admiration for the songs and the band.

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