Will be remembered as one of the best bands of this era
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Live at Scala

In the year 2032, when humans receive all of their meals in pill form - pills which actually taste like a multitude of different classic dishes – and when robots with red baseball caps act as DJs in all but a few night clubs, how will the curious citizen of the future look back upon music from the Noughties (and slightly beyond)? Especially in the fickle world of indie rock, where bands from this time rarely stay relevant for more than two albums – which groups will be singled out as ones worthy of hanging on to? A few, you can be sure, will obtain cult status in the future. They will have their albums played at parties by young, futuristic nerds in an attempt to look cool in front of other music geeks. But you can also be sure that many more of our current bands will slip into the vast blackness of musical obscurity. Forgotten and relegated to the vaults of time.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, all things being fair, will be remembered as one of the best bands of this era (2005 – present day). Despite the bombastic fanfare that blew up all over the internet following their debut, and then the small, grossly unjustified critical/fan backlash after their criminally underrated sophomore effort ‘Some Loud Thunder’, the band have quietly gone about their business. (Actually, they took a break in 2009 as singer/guitarist/chief songwriter Alec Ounsworth released a brilliant solo album called ‘Mo Beauty’, which was recorded in New Orleans with support from some local musicians.) But now Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are back, and touring in support of their soon-to-be-released third album ‘Hysterical’.

Scala, London. Wednesday night, present day. The venue is sold out, the floor is sticky and the room is packed with people; drunken men and woman; some sophisticated indie types and more than a few men with four buttons undone on their white shirts and their hair spiked up with gel. These are the men who talk loudly throughout every new song, and then cheer as if watching a game of football when a track from the first album is played. Sure, that sort of thing is to be expected when dealing with a relatively successful band, especially a band that had one massively popular album that heralded a new age in music – the internet/blog age. But that still doesn’t make it any less infuriating though, does it?

So what about these new songs, then? Well, Ounsworth has a great knack of absolutely cramming his songs with words (which is more idiosyncratic than it sounds), and then creating a catchy melody out of the jumbling rhythm of syllables. The new material sounds fantastic – bring on ‘Hysterical’! - and the band obviously enjoy playing it. After filling the first half of the set with these new songs, older tunes like ‘This Home On Ice’, ‘The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth’ and ‘Upon This Tidal Wave Of Young Blood’ give most of the crowd what they came for; the chance to dance like mad to some pretty damn catchy – and weird – rock songs. But why can’t the general gig population show respect to a band – a band whose music they actually like – and be dutiful enough to care about, or at least be quiet and listen to, the new material? It’s an age-old question, too far reaching to be answered in this review, but you can be sure that those ardent music fans of the future will be showing their respect.

Words by Kerry Tyrrell
Photo by Rachel Lipsitz

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