Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
It’s a tremendous feeling when a band or artist you’ve stood behind for years truly surprises you. Throughout a given year, the average committed music-listener will anticipate five to ten releases from bands or artists that might crack their desert-island lists; I’m talking about the musicians you buy without having heard a lick of their new album – nay, the musicians you buy because you’ve refused yourself the opportunity to sample anything in advance.
From my pocket of personal favourite bands, 2011 revealed a few eagerly anticipated “deaf purchases”: Wilco, Dog Day, Ryan Adams, Matthew Good – artists I’ve followed since I was, by all accounts, a different human being. None of these artists landed on SCQ’s list, despite their name-power attempting to soften the bias in me. Among the top tier bands that did make 2011’s year-end grade is Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, whose Hysterical I awaited with fingers crossed. It wasn’t a fear of repeating Some Loud Thunder that concerned me – I, for one, thought that sophomore made the band’s catalog more interesting – it was a fear that the critical disappointment from that release might’ve driven CYHSY to be something they aren’t. Although the synth-y gloss could be acting as a defense mechanism, Hysterical presents that same band everyone loved in 2005 firing on all cylinders.