Some Loud Thunder

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
The buzz has died down ever so slightly on this out-of-left-field success story, but even though their name is no longer on the lips of every hipster extant, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are showing no sign of slowing down their inexorable quest to make folks dance -- and grin -- like goofballs. Some Loud Thunder follows the same basic formula as the band's breakthrough debut, but since the main ingredient in that formula is unpredictability, it's every bit as affably eccentric and ultimately engaging. The disc veers madly across the pop spectrum, stopping to flail furiously in electroclash territory on the infectious "Satan Says Dance" before heading off to fuse Beach ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
The buzz has died down ever so slightly on this out-of-left-field success story, but even though their name is no longer on the lips of every hipster extant, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are showing no sign of slowing down their inexorable quest to make folks dance -- and grin -- like goofballs. Some Loud Thunder follows the same basic formula as the band's breakthrough debut, but since the main ingredient in that formula is unpredictability, it's every bit as affably eccentric and ultimately engaging. The disc veers madly across the pop spectrum, stopping to flail furiously in electroclash territory on the infectious "Satan Says Dance" before heading off to fuse Beach Boys harmonies with buzzing guitar feedback on the obsessive love paean "Emily Jean Stock." Frontman Alec Ounsworth provides the main constant with his loopy, love-it-or-hate-it delivery -- something like David Byrne channeling David Bowie or Gordon Gano duking it out with Chris Martin. It's an instrument that stands stalwartly at the center of the mix, whether it's surrounded by playfully ear-tweaking keyboards or spiky guitars. The keening title track gains much of its power from the latter element, while the former brings an ethereal air to the bittersweet "Mama Won't You Keep Them Castles in the Air and Burning." There are a few ups and downs here, but in the end, Some Loud Thunder seems to indicate that lightning will strike twice for Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.
All Music Guide - J. Scott McClintock
A ton of people had their eyes trained on this sophomore release and it's difficult to give it a fair shake once you've muled-up to the "pre-order" download carrot and subsequent hype. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah's debut was a decent, giddy first album -- not the end-all, be-all, "best indie release ever" that it was willed to be by fans and critics. It was just a good record that fortunate events conspired to elevate beyond its own scope and capabilities. It was over-hyped, plain and simple, and (lord bless 'em) the guys in CYHSY soldiered through it all, and seemed well enough armored to take the gushing praise, smile politely, stick it under their collective hat and then get back to doing what they were doing. This is significant because history says that once your band is hyped that much, you're usually toast. Heads get big, sights get set too high and direction is lost. It's sad, but it's often the way these kinds of "best debut ever" stories play themselves out. The proof in the pudding is, without fail, the second record, with all of its anticipated greatness. Will it exceed expectations? Will it be a blunder? Sometimes it all hinges on number two, and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah's debut follow-up, Some Loud Thunder, comes to plate, visibly sweating under the strain and stress. The opening song (and title track) "Some Loud Thunder," immediately divides the fan base with insanely compressed and distorted production that makes the rest of producer Dave Fridmann's work sound like purist, two-mic, chamber ensemble recordings. It's waaaaaay over the top (it actually physically hurts to listen to it) -- it's not heavy, it's painful -- and that will make it or break it for some folks right there. Hold up though, remember their debut recording started off with some crazy carnival banter -- maybe this is just the weird opener here? It is. There's nothing else on the album that gets to "Some Loud Thunder"'s level of "ouch" and there's even a "non-distorto" version of the tune floating around the download sites for those who can't take the pain. Get past that, and you start getting into the real stuff -- the bulk of which tends toward meandering tension builders that never really take off. Free from label prodding (and polishing) the guys in CYHSY seem to spend a great deal of this album screwing around on trumpets, accordions and prepared pianos. It sure sounds like they indulged every overdub whim that could be conceived and, at times, it's a bit off-putting for the listener. "Quit screwing around and get back to work...please!" Really, that's good solid advice because when CYHSY apply themselves, good stuff happens. The meandering tension builders ("Emily Jean Stock," "Love Song No. 7," the indulgent instrumental "Upon Encountering the Crippled Elephant," "Goodbye to Mother and the Cove" and "Five Easy Pieces") all have their moments but there's definitely an unfinished and tentative feel here. It sounds like a band accompanying a singer/songwriter who can't fully let go of that riveting coffee house spotlight. On the aforementioned songs, you could strip away all the incidental noodling and end up with a decent singer/songwriter record. It seems, in an effort to sound more sophisticated (read, serious) CYHSY have kind of taken a step backward. It's not all like this though. There are moments of brilliance, both musically and lyrically, and they are all contained in the tunes that are the most realized. "Mama, Won't You Keep Them Castles in the Air and Burning?"makes this list, if only for the thoughtful lyrics of Alec Ounsworth. "Arm and Hammer" is where things really start to coalesce. There's still a lot of spontaneous creativity at work here, but it's wrangled in enough to give the tune a sense of purpose. Lyrically, this one's on a mission and it succeeds in being a nice, bitter "F***k Off!!" as well as an affirming manifesto. "Yankee Go Home" is quite good -- maybe the most fully realized thing on the whole album. Great melody, great lyrics, somewhat more refined overdub coloration -- and it's got guts. "Papa said get used to it/Papa said it gets so goddam hard but I get used to it" and "I'm calling upon North Carolina to help me out here" are but two of the fine bits of lyric on "Yankee..." and, when this song builds up to it's blow-out chorus, it sincerely rocks. "Satan Said Dance" certainly has the goods to be an indie-kid party bopper. All dissonant, demented disco bounce (à la the Cure) with that "guaranteed to raise an eyebrow" refrain of "Satan, Sa-tan, Satan, Satan, Sa-tan." It's fun, well played and slightly unsettling, a perfect disjointed dance number, but Ounsworth's lyrics here seem throwaway and that, sadly, lends the tune an air of novelty. "Underwater (You and Me)" also barely makes this list -- helped in large part by Ounsworth's good lyric work, but hindered by a decidedly demo-ish sheen. Half the album is guilty of this, while the other half seems light-years ahead in the band development department. Is this an "age of the digital download" thing? Are CYHSY banking on a few "out of album context" downloaded singles to buoy this record? If they are, and it works out, it could be one of the most forward thinking business plans ever.
New York Times - Jon Pareles
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah demands a new, irksome level of indulgence on “Some Loud Thunder.” But it finds a new richness in the songs it doesn’t sabotage.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah demands a new, irksome level of indulgence on “Some Loud Thunder.” But it finds a new richness in the songs it doesn’t sabotage.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/30/2007
  • Label: Clap Your Hands Say
  • UPC: 075596861120
  • Catalog Number: 68611
  • Sales rank: 36,567

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah Primary Artist
Lee Sargent Group Member
Tyler Sargent Group Member
Sean Greenhalgh Group Member
Robbie Guertin Group Member
Alec Gunsworth Group Member
Technical Credits
Greg Calbi Mastering
Dave Fridmann Producer, Engineer, Audio Production
Alec Ounsworth Composer, Lyricist
Tyler Sargent Composer
Sean Greenhalgh Composer
Robbie Guertin Artwork
Alec Gunsworth Producer
Nick Stern Management
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