Nerdy New Yorkers deliver freeze-pop epic
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah have a rotten name, a singer who sounds like he’s gargling margaritas at a David Byrne convention, and look as though they’ve spent the last 10 years on the set of High Fidelity. Cue record exec in that old Kit-Kat ad: they’ll go a long way!
Originally sighted at music biz lager-drive South By SouthWest last year, these Brooklyn boffins haven’t put a Conversed foot wrong since, shifting 20,000 copies of their self-financed album while notching up their first Top 75 hit with limited-edition lament ‘Is This Love?’. Which brings us to first proper single ‘In This Home On Ice’. Fans of The Rakes should look away now, because while our current Brit-crop provide the pop equivalent of plunging their tongues down our throats and screaming “Do you want to?”, CYHSY plan a more cerebral seduction.
“You talk like a noose/And only confuse my perplexity/Now that I’m so sad and not quite right/I could dance all night”, warbles Alec Ounsworth, an Ezra Pound for the Xbox generation, before drawling “The ravaged cabbage drifts on dark red skies/And it looks nice”. Erm, your place or mine?
Meanwhile, the band combine the oddball jangle of Yo La Tengo with a chorus even Arcade Fire would take on loan: there is power in the bass, sadness in the guitars and the whole thing pumps like Dennis Rodman’s handshake.
“Confusion becomes a philosophy!” howls Alec cryptically near the end.
We get the picture. Smart.