Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Only Run - CYHSY/THE ORCHARD
FILTER Grade: 80%
By Bailey Pennick on June 9, 2014
Wedged right in the middle of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s 2007 LP, Some Loud Thunder, was “Satan Said Dance.” The track was as strange and disconcerting as its title, thanks in part to its heavy (and out of character) reliance on glitches, computer sounds and synths. Were these the sounds of the devil? Perhaps, yes, to indie darlings whose calling card had quickly become warbling vocals atop a stream of jangly guitars and disco-beat drumming. Seven years and two albums later, it seems that the Alec Ounsworth–led project has embraced the digital—through drum machines, synthesizers and interjected sound bites—for their newest release. Only Run marks the 10th anniversary for CYHSY, and a significant musical departure. While the album’s overarching theme continues to follow Ounsworth’s commitment to unwavering optimism, Only Run showcases a much darker tonal shift. Without the warm, human touch that made CYHSY’s previous releases so inviting, the ten (or really nine considering “Impossible Request” appears twice) tracks on Only Run feel cold and calculated. Even collaborative tracks featuring Kid Koala and Matt Berninger feel hollow. On “Your Advice,” one of Only Run’s best, Ounsworth cries “Do you feel happier?”; after feeling the album’s sonic isolation, it’s hard to know who he’s trying to convince of his positivity: the listener, or himself.