all words: Finch Fulton
all photos: Steve Jeter
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s (CYHSY) Saturday night performance at the 9:30 Club was a reunion of former companions that have been separated by time and outside forces. It has been a while for the estranged couple…the crowd has been listening to other bands…and well, the band members have mostly been in other bands. The sweet embrace between those who came for the mid-2000’s indie band they fondly remembered, and CYHSY, who is finally back on tour to tout their latest album, was satisfying.
Alec Ounsworth’s voice can really only be considered beautiful in that it is so unique. His particular sound is reminiscent of a more incoherent Thom Yorke circa Pablo Honey. The leadman appeared slightly bow-footed and hunched over, exactly how you’d picture the source of that uncommon voice. The crowd was a late 20’s-early 30’s mix who likely fell for the band in or right after their college days. Not present were the hoards of college hipsters you may have grown accustomed to seeing at indie shows, especially with a band of this caliber.
The band rewarded their former intimates with a steady mix of songs from their new album, nearly all of their 2005 self titled album — namely Is This Love?, Over and Over Again (Lost & Found), and The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth, — and to a lesser extent, their 2007 album Some Loud Thunder.
CYHSY’s live performances are true to their studio sound, in part meaning that you still can’t understand most of Ounsworth’s lyrics. When CYHSY trotted out their new material, which lives up to their fans’ expectations, the crowd was interested and enthusiastic. But as you might expect from neophytes to the new album Hysterical, which comes out later this month, they didn’t really know how to react to each new song. Their first encounter was a bit awkward, yet gratifying. They’ll be listening when the album is finally dropped.
The opening band for the night was POLIÇA (think Po-lisa). At this point, an alert should be sent out to those who feast off of new, little-known acts. Now is your chance.
This collaboration features the beautiful simplicity of Channy Cassele’s sweet, mostly understated vocals, propped up by the dual drummers and Chris Bierden on the bass. The band has been together for around 4 months, and only has 3 more shows scheduled with Clap Your Hands. Channy, formerly of Roma Di Luna, has a voice that could be compared to Yael Niam or Dido, although the band’s sound is markedly different.
Channy sang most, if not all, of the songs autotuned, but not in a reliant or obnoxious way. The biggest rise for the crowd was in the second to last song which featured Drew Christopherson and Ben Ivascu on the drums playing in sync fast and hard.
My main complaint through the opening act was that you could feel her teasingly withholding the power behind her voice. In their final song she finally exposed its depth, to the delight of the crowd. They only have two songs out for public consumption on their website, http://www.thisispolica.com/, and unfortunately neither was one of their top songs from Saturday.
This gives us plenty to look forward to as their their debut album release draws nearer. While this might be months away, Polica is a group that will be worth your attention.