Back in the heady music-hype days of the early 2000s, one of the quickest to alt-boom was Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, their frenetic energy and frontman Alec Ounsworth’s signature delivery making them stand out. They were even one of the first acts to eschew a record label. But time moved on, including a hiatus, an Ounsworth solo album (QRO review), and all the other original members departing. Never reaching the heights of their big indie-NYC brethren, it was more surprising that CYHSY was still around. But Ounsworth & Hands have released some of their best material ever in New Fragility.
Early CYHSY took Ounsworth’s frantic energy and made it a party (see the name of the band), but that couldn’t continue, and now it’s found the right outlet in hope & joy. “Hesitating Nation”, the expanding epic “Thousand Oaks”, growing emotion title track, even the joyful look back “CYHSY, 2005” all shine with earned brightness. And Ounsworth wisely leavens Fragility with different strains of sadness, such as the strings-led “Innocent Weight”, piano-led “Mirror Song”, and the distant, echoing recording of closer “If I Were More Like Jesus”.
So much from those wild times of really not that long ago when you think about it have passed away; we don’t even listen to mp3s anymore. It’s great that Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is back in such strong fashion on New Fragility.