Philadelphia art rockers Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are back with The Tourist. It drops next Friday, February 24th, following 2014’s Only Run, but you can stream it now via NPR’s First Listen. If you’ve been a fan of the project up to this point, the album is ready and eager to please, but it’s anything but a rehash of their old sound.
CYHSH may not sound as pleasantly rough-around-the-edges as they did on their debut, but they certainly haven’t lost that album’s frenetic energy. The drums on tracks like “Better Off” and “The Vanity of Trying” are as driving and scatterbrained as ever, while cuts like “Fireproof” and “Unfolding Above Celibate Moon (Lost Angeles Nursery Rhyme” ride more spacious, yet equally engaging grooves. Meanwhile, “A Chance to Cure” forgoes drums for almost half of its runtime, highlighting one of The Tourists’ defining characteristics–its doubled-down emphasis on the vocal.
Alec Ounsworth’s vocal delivery has always been a huge part of what CYHSH what it is, but they’ve never been responsible for this much of the song’s movement. Without his singing, songs like the aforementioned “A Chance to Cure” might feel instrumentally scarce, but with the sheer volume of lyrics and his rapid-fire delivery, they become tense and full to the brim. Ranging from an agitated, falsetto croon to a full-on nasal yelp, it often takes on a quality similar to Thom Yorke’s voice on Hail To The Thief-era Radiohead. With that being said, Ounsworth’s voice is still distinctly his own, both as a performer and a songwriter. That’s not likely to change any time soon.
If you want to catch Clap Your Hands Say Yeah live, they’ll headline Johnny Brenda’s two consecutive nights this March 2nd and 3rd. For tickets and more information, head over to XPN’s Concert Calendar.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah