September 12, 2011

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Hysterical

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is a band that's easy to hate upon first listen. Not because their melodies are crap, or that their far too lo-fi, because both of these things are untrue. It's simply because of Alec Ounsworth's singing voice. And I think that was starting to catch on with the band, because on Hysterical, the vocal crack has definitely been toned down, probably to appeal to a larger audience. I, however, found it pretty easy to get past the incessant voice crack, but for others, it was impossible. So I guess if you hated his voice on previous records, but in general liked the music, then you're in luck with this one.

But unfortunately, it seems as though the memorable hooks have disappeared with the vocal crack as well. The record, on a whole, is pretty enjoyable, but it's hard to think of a memorable melody once it's done. It basically plays on vanilla the entire time, with occasional forays into catchy territory. The songs often blend together and sound the same as well, so much that you might just miss a track or two. A good example of this is the entire last half of the album. Though I should note that Same Mistake is a damn catchy tune. Maniac varies it up a bit as well. In Your Alien Arms is a decent track, even though the last two minutes are exactly the same throughout. In A Motel and Misspent Youth are both graceful tracks, the former with its beautiful string arrangement and an actually memorable melody.

And then there's the rest of the album. Nothing in those last 5 or 6 songs will make me want to give them another listen, except for Adam's Plane, the closer to this 50-minute-long record. At least that song left me off feeling a little happier.

Back in 2005, they were rocking the indie scene with their quirky exuberance and catchy hooks. Here, they've lost their quirk, along with uniqueness and energy. With the exception of a few key tracks, Hysterical is a mostly forgettable, mildly enjoyable record with too much form and not enough substance.

1. Same Mistake
2. Hysterical
3. Misspent Youth
4. Maniac
5. Into Your Alien Arms
6. In a Motel
7. Yesterday, Never
8. Idiot
9. Siesta (For Snake)
10. Ketamine and Ecstasy
11. The Witness' Dull Surprise
12. Adam's Plane


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