Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

  • Clap Your Hands Say Yeah [, 2005] A-
  • Some Loud Thunder [, 2007] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah [, 2005]
Since the indie-rock story of the year has been compared to every vaguely appropriate band you can think of as well as some you can't and also Wilco, I'm not the first to say Feelies. But Feelies it is. What sticks out right off is a drive that can't be taught or approximated. They're on top of a drone that crests over atmospheric interludes and hooks-are-for-squares songwriting even though they're glorious twice--on "Over and Over Again (Lost and Found)," which gradually elaborates a beyond-trebly guitar?? figure that could easily be played on a triangle, and the climactic "Upon This Tidal Wave of Young Blood," which claims it's about child stars and is. It's also about Iraq. That's what indie obliqueness is for. A-

Some Loud Thunder [, 2007]
They weren't as extraordinary as people said then, so why believe they're as ordinary as people say now? Not that Alec Ounsworth knew the distortion he laid on the first track--which evokes a cracked ceramic cartridge, kids--would off-put so spectacularly. But though I hated the effect at first, now it makes me chuckle--a cheeky sonic joke that doesn't diminish the excellent title song into which it's integrated any more than subtler lo-fi hurts "Emily Jean Stock" right after. The debut was a groove album that moved along smartly before climaxing on a crest. This is a song album that sags in the middle. Groove to song--if you wanted, you could even call that progress. A-