Clap Your Hands Say Yeah @ Coalition

A lot is being said about the end of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s hiatus and their return to the indie music foray. In modern terms, 4 years might a long time, but it pales in comparison to the 15 year break Guns N’ Roses took. Unfortunately, the results seem just as lackluster.

An impressively full crowd filled Coalition for the supporting act Meursault, an eerily electronic folk act bespoke of charisma but full of prowess. A name flung around the internet often alongside ‘2012’ and ‘breakthrough’, which as good as they sound on record,  for a band close to completing their third album does seem a bit peculiar. From their performance though it was hard to see why this year more than ever big things are expected. Clearly they’ve been around the block and know how to play, but whether 2012 will be their theirs, who knows.

With a tip from the guy on the door that well over 300 tickets had been sold, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah were met with a thunderous applause. One befitting of one of, if not the first DIY indie successes of the internet world in possibly the most receptive and and alternative cities in the UK. If they really were to have a strong UK cult following, you can bet it’d be in Brighton. Regardless, it was great to see such a turn out for such success stories of indie Lo-fi. And at least to begin with, the crowds weren’t dissapointed with CYHSY’s long awaited return to the not-so-sunny beaches of Brighton. They took off with ‘Let The Cool Goddess Rust Away’ from their eponymous debut. For those new to these Brooklyn guys, the song provided perfect evidence of the polarising effect of frontman Alex Ounsworth’s, err, Marmite-esque vocals. Somewhere between his oddly tuneful whines and the gorgeous guitar lines the crowd were completely engaged, nostalgically or otherwise, in the performance.

The importance of nostalgia though remained pivotal to the success of the evening. Their set, which consisted of a smattering of tracks from their debut and latest release, seemingly skirting the kookiness of their sophomore effort in favour of the nuts and bolts approach of their other releases. Even so, they still lacked the quirky frenzy that saw the likes of David Bowie once attend their shows. Their stage presence provided a massive contrast to the constantly warm reception they received from the loyal crowd. It wasn’t just that they barely spoke to an audience clearly made up of their biggest fans from across the pond, the disinterest seemed to pervade their music itself. Maybe this grumpy reviewer is looking too far into it, but the legions of fans packed into Coalition deserved more than the monotonous bulk they received. Things perked up in the latter stages of their performance with the now legendary keyboard intro to ‘The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth’ drawing a booming cheer. They did at least in part up the ante in reciprocation, but as one of the most raucous yet quintessential creations of CYHSY, anything less really would’ve been a travesty. Even with their partially redeeming finish though, capped off by an encore featuring fan favourite ‘Heavy Metal’, the evening lacked the energy and drive of their first appearance in Brighton almost 6 years ago exactly. Which whilst probably inevitable, may have soured the otherwise welcome trip down memory lane.

With all the old favourites getting taken round the block one more time the large following probably went home happy, the heavy dosage of nostalgia smoothing over what was otherwise a bland performance. It does make you think though, after all that time, if you can be that unexcited upon your return, especially with the wealth of great new alternative music at the moment, should you really have returned at all?

Meursault – Crank Resolutions

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth