Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

I have seen the future of indie rock and it will be named Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!

The back story surrounding the circumstances of this release is nearly as noteworthy as the release itself. It's the tale of a relatively unknown indie band from the crowded scene in New York City releasing its debut album on a web-based indie distributor without a label that has caught on thanks to relentless touring and positive word of mouth. Given this, it is understandable while in one breath one can proclaim that they are the 'Future of Indie Rock' and in the next explain that the songs from CYHSY! are rough and could use a little more production; the band and the songs have unmistakable potential.

CYHSY! kick off the album with a sort-of theme song ("Clap Your Hands!") and it sounds like all of the instruments used could have been purchased not at Guitar Center but at Toys 'R Us. The song starts out sounding like it belongs outside the entrance of a circus then transforms into the soundtrack of countless southern baptisms in rivers.

It is the only cutesy song on the album. From there the second track ("Let the Cool Goddess Rust Away"), slowly builds from an opening that sounds like it was lifted from a Strokes songbook. Once the vocals begin, they are vaguely Dylan or Neil Young-ish—mostly because they are unintelligible. Regardless, they work with the instrumentation. The rest of the album is a closer cousin to Cool Goddess than "Clap Your Hands!".

The lead harmonies have a drunken swagger that is charming and provide a bit of necessary punk flavor to a restrained and tight (but not terribly innovative or inspiring) guitars and rhythm section. It is a debut album, so growth as musicians and songwriting should be expected.

What makes CYHSY! enjoyable, though, is that this is a band without an ounce of pretension or cynicism visible in the final product. The band members seem as though they grew up dancing in the front of crowds in punk clubs. The band's name is hardly ironic as the musicians are having as much fun in the studio as the kids dancing in the front row.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!'s first album sounds like a record recorded by some guys that feel lucky to be in a rock band, not a group of cynical hipsters putting together a band to get laid and avoid getting a day job. If they continue of the former's path CYHSY! could potentially become one of the most popular bands in indie rock.