The Spinners

Some Loud Thunder (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, 2007)

In Indie American, Rex Baylon on January 14, 2010 at 12:21 pm

The DIY aesthetic is a very prickly subject when it comes to indie pop; fans seem to relish the rough-hewn veneer of a White Stripes song but will run away from anything more unpolished.

After the success of their self-titled debut, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are poised to take the mantle as the new saviors of indie rock; but with all that hype surrounding them it is inevitable that no matter what they do afterward, they can never meet everyone’s expectations.

Their sophomore follow-up, Some Loud Thunder, has been castigated by many of the band’s hardcore fans for being so lo-fi that the sound quality of most of the tracks makes listening to the album literally painful to ears. Each song is dripping with so much distortion that Alec Ounsworth’s crackly vocals get buried underneath all the audio feedback.

The album’s opening track, “Some Loud Thunder”, is a sonic mess that shouldn’t work, but its crudeness lends the song an endearing quality as if it holds some sort of puzzle that can only be deciphered once each sonic layer is decoded. Yet even with the sonic experimentation on songs like “Mama, Won’t You Keep Them Castles In the Air Burning?”, “Satan Said Dance”, “Arm and Hammer”, and “The Sword Song”, Clap Your hands Say Yeah have not forgotten their indie pop roots. They have not lost their talent in coming up with catchy melodic riffs and idiosyncratic vocalizations; and in fact, all the attention in the album’s recording methods has greatly underplayed the band’s musical talents. Some Loud Thunder is a record that after several listens will continue to reward fans who are looking for something a bit more challenging than what the mainstream music scene has to offer.

– Rex Baylon

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