Touring behind its latest album, “The Tourist,” the Alec Ounsworth-led Clap Your Hands Say Yeah made folks wonder why they’ve “slept on this band for the past four albums.” At least, that’s the take of Local Spins reviewer Troy Reimink.
Few albums send me to the Mortality Contemplation Window, where I swirl brandy around the bottom of a glass and ponder the passage of time, quicker than the self-titled debut album by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, which was released a hundred lifetimes ago in 2005.
Even more than the other iconic indie-rock albums of the time — Arcade Fire’s “Funeral,” Wolf Parade’s “Apologies to the Queen Mary,” LCD Soundsystem’s self-titled debut — “Clap Your Hands Say Yeah” has transportive properties that defy explanation.
In 2015, the East Coast band’s tour commemorating the 10-year anniversary of that album packed the 420-capacity Pyramid Scheme in Grand Rapids.
The new Clap Your Hands Say Yeah tour, supporting its fifth album, “The Tourist,” drew about half that crowd, which is too bad. The quartet, led by Alec Ounsworth, has never quite outrun the shadow of that left-field, out-of-nowhere record. But its 80-minute, catalog-spanning set on Tuesday was enough to make the casual listener feel dumb for having slept on this band for the past four albums.
From opener “As Always” onward, the band flexed and loosened muscles that only a decade of grinding it out in clubs, indifferent to shifting trends, could have built.
They weaved classic early tracks like “In This Home On Ice,” “Is This Love?” and “The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth” together with new material like the encored “Down (Is Where I Want To Be)” so compellingly that it was like the years had never passed.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah got older, which was good for them.
The rest of us? Great question.
PHOTO GALLERY: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah at The Pyramid Scheme
Photos by Anna Sink
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