Approaching Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s debut album for the first time in a decade is, to coin a rather clichéd metaphor, a little like meeting up with an ex. Doubts remain at to whether they can possibly live up to memory, that all too palpable, gnawing, feeling that real life could extinguish the flames of nostalgia.
Thankfully, ‘Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’ retains its allure. Opening cut ‘Clap Your Hands!’ is as delightfully odd as ever, while ‘Let The Cool Goddess Rust Away’ has an anthemic charm.
Famously one of the first bands – and, indeed, records – broken by the internet, as opposed to traditional print press, the impact of the web on Clap Your Hands Say Yeah was always rather overstated. That said, it does remain as a wonderfully apt time capsule – the post-punk references on ‘Over And Over Again (Lost And Found)’, for instance, or the manner in which ‘Details Of The War’ seems to presage the triumphant allure of Arcade Fire.
At its best, ‘Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’ still thrills. ‘The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth’ is an indie dancefloor stomper then and now, while the beautiful poetry of ‘In This Home On Ice’ confuses and beguiles ten years on.
Remaining a wonderfully immediate and yet evocatively strange listen, the album is both a moment frozen in time and a warning. ‘Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’ retains its freshness, it’s vigour, in part because of the strength of the songwriting and the blossoming energy of a band coming into their own. Yet it could equally be argued that the material also remains relevant because indie – in the mainstream sense – has simply failed to progress.
Listening back to the material, you find yourself longing – rightly or wrongly - for the fluidity of 2005, for the feeling that what might come next could be truly unexpected. ‘Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’ remains as wonderful as the first time you heard it. To continue the relationship metaphor just one step further: it’s not really them, it’s us. And perhaps we should get over it.
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