Could this be the most contrary band on the planet? Clap Your Hands Say Yeah's first album was an acquired taste, largely because singer Alec Ounsworth insists on yapping like a puppy being throttled.
Anyone who managed to find enjoyment in that strangulated yelp might expect an easier ride from the follow-up album, but oh no: it takes umpteen listens to appreciate the myriad beauties of Some Loud Thunder. Its primary problem is that, unlike the debut, it lacks any uplifting anthem to draw in listeners and encourage them to persevere.
Anyone who does make the effort, however, will be amply rewarded, because whatever it lacks in straightforward pop tunes, this album makes up for in rich, multilayered weirdness. Gorgeous guitar melodies swoop across dancing basslines, sink beneath carnivalesque swirls, do battle with random crackles and fuzz. Underwater (You and Me) is the most immediately engaging moment, a buoyant song of blue skies and floating balloons, but eventually even such recalcitrant oddities as Emily Jean Stock and Goodbye to Mother and the Cove unveil their loveliness and grow irresistible.