“The Tourist” Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Pioneering art rock band from Philadelphia with what some critics are calling its best album ever. Originally a quintet, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is now down to its final founding member — singer-songwriter Alec Ounsworth. This album was created at a time of “intense soul-searching” for Ounsworth and it served as inspiration for a true masterpiece. Arrangements are sharp and crisp — orchestrating keyboards, guitars and prominent rhythms. Tracks range from guitar-driven to synth-rock, with one folk-rocker (“Loose Ends”).
Recommended: 6, 5, 3, 9, 8. FCCs on #1 and #2.
1. (3:12) The Pilot – Strumming guitar over a shuffling beat. Reverbed vocals. Airy synths. Segues directly into #2. FCCs: motherf-cker (multiple times)
2. (3:37) A Chance to Cure – Otherworldly psychedelic synths. Frantic, spoken and squeezed falsetto vocals over a glitching beat. FCC: shit
3. (3:49) Down (Is Where I Want to Be) – Starts with a funky, off-kilter beat with pinging synths. Shifts into a guitar-driven rocker one minute in. ***
4. (3:19) Unfolding Above Celibate Moon (Los Angeles Nursery Rhyme) – Deliberate, playful bouncy tempo. Vocals are a nasal wail about the absurdity of L.A. Edgy guitar solo at end.
5. (4:36) Better Off – Snappy, up-tempo rock. Layered synths with some jangly guitar. Beatles-like harmonies at end. ****
6. (4:01) Fireproof – Fabulous, rhythm-driven track. Muted percussive guitar. Thumping bass drum. Cool bass line. Shakers. Psychedelic synths, with vocals varying between frenetic and soothing. ****
7. (4:43) The Vanity of Trying – Straight-ahead rock. Mumbled vocals, with harmonies overlaid at times and lush, swelling synths. Builds to anthemic ending.
8. (2:26) Loose Ends – Up-tempo folk-rock with fingerpicked acoustic guitar and drum pattern from Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time.” **
9. (3:08) Ambulance Chaser – Rock with swirling, swelling synths. Strummed guitar and rapidly sung, breathless vocals. “I’ll take my medicine and you’ll just hope for the worst.” ***
10. (4:36) Visiting Hours – Sustained synth note under. Big reverbed acoustic guitar. Bagpipe-like synths in middle work with the dirge-like vocals.