Clap Your Hands Say Yeah have been pretty quiet over the last few years. With line-up changes galore, the band have diminished little by little leaving singer/ guitarist, Alec Ounsworth, solely responsible for the band’s output.
This hasn’t stopped CYHSY’s beating heart from pounding however, with consistent shows in and around the US and Ounsworth releasing numerous singles and demos (old and new material) via Soundcloud and other platforms.
This brings us to The Tourist, the fifth studio LP by the band and their latest official release since 2014’s Only Run. The album clocks in at a comfortable ten tracks and includes singles "Fireproof" and "Down (Is Where I Want to Be)", both offering a blend of synthesized fusion and classic CYHSY jaded indie with piercing vocal melodies respective of Ounsworth’s signature style. “It’s a candle that you bring to the table / but it’s not enough for me… The ring of fire is growing high / but we will never leave”, Ounsworth spits in an obnoxious tongue as "Fireproof" delves into the dangers of egotistical idiosyncrasy.
Yet, other than the two singles, which are both stand out tracks, there’s not much more to particularly rave about on The Tourist. "Unfolding Above Celibate Moon" has a lovely compressed, distorted drum beat accompanying an unfolding keyboard progression, and "Visiting Hours" has a somewhat Britpop feel to it with legato electric guitars above a strummed acoustic ballad.
This is all well and good for fans of CYHSY, though there’s nothing particularly new on show that immediately grabs your attention. When you listen back to their self-titled and self-released debut from over a decade ago, you really get excited about the music they were making. Not only were CYHSY at the forefront of the developing indie world, they were producing iconic guitar riffs such as the spine-tingling pitch bend on "The Skin of my Yellow Country Teeth" and the up-tempo jangles of "Is This Love?".
Hats off to Alec Ounsworth for keeping the faith and working hard, but while there’s some quirky songwriting and clever lyrical tales on The Tourist, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah just don’t seem to be hitting the mark that they once did.