Clap Your Hands Say Yeah: The Tourist review – teetering on the edge of hysteria

(Undertow)

2017 is the year of renewal for former Pitchfork deities: Dirty Projectors, Animal Collective, and now Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, whose 2005 debut caused major palpitations in the world of noughties blog rock. Last remaining member Alec Ounsworth’s fifth album begins with a promise of recalibration: The Pilot and A Chance to Cure are lusciously produced, but that spaciousness quickly resolves into knotty, ambling anthems of frustration.

His voice is a caw which teeters on the edge of hysteria, and he certainly sings with intent: Down (Is Where I Want to Be) drags its listener into the pits of despair with him. But where his manic energy was once applied to buoyant pop, there is now a cluttered chaos, any prettiness scribbled out and made more complicated, distorted. Ounsworth’s identity still remains – “It’s no good trying to be someone you’re not,” he sings on Unfolding Above Celibate Moon – but this fidgety, off-kilter return is exhausting.

• This article was amended on 2 March 2017 to correct the name of the label on which the album was released.

Contributor

Harriet Gibsone

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah: Hysterical – review
The arty New York quintet's attempt to crossover is hampered by a dearth of hooks, writes Phil Mongredien

Phil Mongredien

10, Sep, 2011 @11:09 PM

Article image
CD: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

(Witchita Recordings)

Betty Clarke

20, Jan, 2006 @12:04 AM

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

They sound like they can't be bothered but there's pop nous under the Brooklyn boys' studied cool, says Craig McLean.

Craig McLean

22, Jan, 2006 @12:37 AM

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

Caroline Sullivan

17, Feb, 2007 @11:52 PM

Article image
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah to split?
The Brooklyn yelpers may soon become Clap Your Hands Say No, if blog speculation about their demise is to be believed

Sean Michaels

22, Jan, 2009 @11:33 AM

Article image
CD: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Some Loud Thunder

(Wichita)

Maddy Costa

19, Jan, 2007 @12:00 AM

CD: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Some Loud Thunder

The first album was no fluke, says Emma Warren. Brooklyn's indie kings have refined their music and retained its joyful deviance.

Emma Warren

21, Jan, 2007 @12:19 AM

Article image
Hüsker Dü: Savage Young Dü review – edge-of-hysteria punk with psychedelic yearnings

Alexis Petridis

14, Dec, 2017 @10:45 PM

Article image
Allison Crutchfield: Tourist in This Town review – uplifting pop with tension beneath

Jon Dennis

02, Feb, 2017 @10:00 PM

Article image
Drinks: Hippo Lite review – Cate Le Bon's postcards from the edge
The second album from Cate Le Bon and Tim Presley, recorded in France, is a playful post-punk tonic full of cryptic skronk

Laura Snapes

19, Apr, 2018 @11:00 AM