Philly’s Clap Your Hands Say Yeah recently saw a change in lineup after the departure of three of its members, but do not fret, they are back as a duo and as good as ever. The band now consists of guitarist/vocalist Alec Ounsworth, and bassist Matt Wong, featuring Sean Greenhalgh as drummer on their newest project. CYHSY is currently on tour promoting their fourth album, Only Run, and played a spectacular show Saturday night at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, with funky brother-duo Stagnant Pools as opener.
CYHSY’s self-titled, self-produced and self-released 2005 album was nothing short of brilliant and made them beloved amongst bloggers of the day, heralding their instant indie-rock stardom. Tracks like the wildly fun “Clap Your Hands!” to the sweet (and personal favorite) “Blue Turning Gray” and the uber cool “Gimme Some Salt” had the makings of classic feel good, dance-like-nobody’s-watching tunes. Two albums and a few solo offerings from lead vocalist Ounsworth later, CYHSY have returned to prove that they still have the same energetic vibe that made them darlings early in their career.
Only Run features an array of synth-tunes, full of head bopping beats that will make you sway. “As Always” is a rhythm roller-coaster that alternates between simplicity and melodic chaos. Though you can hear slight differences on Only Run compared to their 2005 gem, the simplicity of this new album is marvelous enough that you don’t really notice the missing links.
On stage, Ounsworth’s voice radiates around a room like no other. His desperate, disheveled tone sings tunes that haunt and move. There’s no doubt that CYHSY is phenomenal on stage – they work a crowd like their lives depend on it, with enthusiastic strumming, drumming, and dancing; it’s difficult to not be blown away by their boundless skill. The vibe at MHoW was undeniably bustling, with everyone either rocking out or singing along. I invited a guest that had never heard of CYHSY before to accompany me, and by the time we left the venue she had fallen in love and was an instant fan. While the setlist drew heavily from Only Run, there was a healthy mix of perennial favorites like “This Home on Ice,” “The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth” from their debut and “Satan Said Dance” from Some Loud Thunder, a song they’ve played live since their earliest shows and a terrific showcase for Ounsworth’s signature warble.
When it was time for the encore, the crowd wasn’t ready to say goodbye, and it seemed as though the guys weren’t either. They launched into a shimmering rendition of their latest single “As Always,” moving into “Heavy Metal” with such a great, loud and contagious energy that it shook the house, proving that they can hold their own as a duo just fine.
CYHSY are taking a brief break from tour before embarking on another three-week journey, beginning in Pittsburgh later this month. See dates and watch the video for “As Always” below. Only Run is available now.
07-24 Pittsburgh, PA – Club Cafe
07-25 Cincinnati, OH – Fountain Square
07-26 St. Louis, MO – Old Rock House
07-27 Kansas City, MO – The Riot Room
07-28 Denver, CO – Bluebird Theater
07-29 Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge
07-30 Boise, ID – Neurolux
08-01 Vancouver, British Columbia – Biltmore Cabaret
08-02 Seattle, WA – The Crocodile
08-03 Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios
08-05 San Francisco, CA – The Independent
08-07 Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour
08-08 San Diego, CA – Casbah
08-09 Scottsdale, AZ – Pub Rock Live
08-11 Austin, TX – The Mohawk
08-12 Houston, TX – Fitzgerald’s
08-13 New Orleans, LA – One Eyed Jacks
08-14 Birmingham, AL – Bottletree
08-15 Chattanooga, TN – Miller Plaza
08-16 Asheville, NC – The Grey Eagle
08-17 Richmond, VA – The Camel