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LAist Interview: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

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Three years ago, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah rode an electronic tidal wave of generally glowing reviews to vault toward Indie-rock stardom.

The East Coast quintet sold more than two million copies of its eponymous debut and toured relentlessly for a good chunk of the past couple of years where, somehow, they managed to eek out a new album that is an amalgamation of classic rock, gypsy rock and, of course, their own unique sound.

(Authors note: I know that some say CYHSY is just a rip off of Talking Heads and that lead singer Alec Ounsworth is nothing but a David Byrne impostor, but there is no such thing as originality in music. Everything is a variation on the past and present and, as such, everything is unique. This is not to say that some bands don't suck. Some do. But they suck not because of their thievery, but because their music is altogether crappy. CYHSY just happens to make great, interesting music.)

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CYHSY recently embarked on a multi-city, multi-country tour in support of Some Loud Thunder that differed in approach from other tours. Instead of playing to large crowds in larger venues, such as the El Rey- where they played on their last jaunt through LA- the Clapping Hands instead chose to play smaller, more intimate venues, like the Troubadour.

Before last Thursday's show, I sat down with Tyler Sargent, bassist and co-founder of CYHSY.

How does this record differ from the first album?

Someone else recorded it, in a different place and time.

My first take of Some Loud Thunder was that it’s darker than the debut. But, after going back to the first album listening to songs like Details of the War, Thunder seems on par with the first. Is Thunder a darker album?

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Yeah, I do think this one sounds grittier, but the songwriting on both are kind of dark. On the first album, some of the songs are immediately catchy, where some of the people don’t realize it’s dark and on the second one, the music can be a bit darker, immediately.

Was the darkness a conscious effort?

No,, not a consciously one. But maybe that kind of thing comes from when bands blow up after their first album; and by that I mean a lot of bullshit. Maybe [this album’s] partly a result of that?

So this album is an exercise in bullshit?

[Haha] Or a response to that.