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December 8, 2022

Filed under: Journal — Milind Kulkarni @ 12:30 am

I’m about to write something that I basically never do: a review of a CD. But, in classical Milind style, I’m first going to preface it with some navel-gazing about why I basically never do these things.

There are basically two broad reasons, these being, roughly, an awareness of my own shortcomings, and a fear that other people will develop an awareness of said shortcomings. Now, before you think I’ve up and gone super-angtsy on you, realize that when I say “shortcomings, ” I don’t mean in it in the “My life (and by extension, I) suck for the following reasons” sense. I mean it in a more specific sense, a failing of knowledge in the first case, and the fear of a failing of taste in the second.

While I listen to a lot of music, I don’t listen to it in the sophisticated, even analytical, way that many people do. My library, and my listening range, is simply not large, nor varied, enough for me to make comparisons such as “This track sounds like early Talking Heads, or perhaps Radiohead before Thom Yorke went batshit crazy.” I have listened to both Talking Heads and Radiohead, but I don’t know their music well enough to make such comparisons. For all I know, maybe Thom Yorke never even went batshit crazy.

Because I don’t have this sort of background knowledge, I would generally feel more comfortable doing something like linking to a Pitchfork Media review rather than trying to make such comparative statements myself. As a result of this, any sort of “review” that I may write will mainly be about my opinions of the music. If I were to write something like “This track reminds me of Modest Mouse, ” I couldn’t say for certain that it really does sound like Modest Mouse, only that I, myself, feel that way.

Thus, the review would go from being something relatively concrete, grounded in a fairly rich musical background (although in the case of the Pitchfork Media review, this could come off as pretentious) to a much more personal (although, again, in Milind style you’re not going to get much “This track is as refreshing as a rainbow, first appearing after a spring shower”) review, grounded instead in my own taste.

That’s where the second reason comes in. I don’t trust my taste. Or rather, I don’t trust that others think I have good taste. This shows up most often when I’m asked about a movie. I refuse to say definitively whether or not the movie is good, hiding instead behind a wall of “I liked it”s and “I thought it was entertaining”s. I feel that if I unequivocally state my feelings for a movie I am essentially putting my tastes on trial. And if others don’t agree, it always feels like it’s my tastes that are lacking. So, by writing a review, I am once again putting my tastes out there for inspection and derision.

But to hell with all that. Here’s my review of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah‘s debut album, unimaginatively and ungrammatically titled Clap Your Hands Say Yeah:

Short form of the review: I liked it! You should go buy it, if you can (see below).

Long form:

This is fun music to listen to. It’s not particularly deep (well, maybe it would be if I could understand most of what the lead singer is going on about). It’s just fun. I can have this on as my background music all day, and simply not get tired of it. A lot of people that don’t like the album have a large problem with the lead singer’s voice. I admit that his voice isn’t exactly Julliard trained (although the band is from NYC, so I’m sure I’m not the only one wondering: “Why the hell not??”), and at times can be sort of grating. But it has an oddly hypnotic quality that seems to blend really well with the music, for some reason.

And oh, the music. The rest of the band is reason enough to buy this CD. The lead singer could literally spend his entire time jumping on cats’ tails, and I’d still recommend buying the CD. I can’t quite put my finger on why I like the music so much. I think it’s just about as close to pure, distilled, poppy indie rock music as you can get. Or, at least, as close to pure, distilled, poppy-indie-rock-music-that-Milind-likes as you can get. Suffice it to say, it’s good.

Now to specific tracks:

There is, in fact, a track that reminds me of Modest Mouse, “Over and Over Again (Lost and Found).” There is a guitar/rhythm line going at the beginning that, if it were on “The Moon and Antarctica, ” would have me convinced that it belonged there rather than on this CD. It’s quite good.

Another good track is “In This Home On Ice.” Having just re-watched Garden State, I feel that this song would not be out of place at all in the movie, or on its amazing soundtrack. I think that it may have fit just after the scene where Zach Braff and Natalie Portman sit in front of the fire in his friend’s mansion. Not during any scene that was actually in the movie. Just after that scene. It just seems right. I dunno.

Despite really liking that track, it may not even be my favorite track on the album. That may instead be “Is This Love?” which has the curious distinction of getting easily stuck in my head without my minding. It’s just an upbeat, happy, pop song. I love it.

And lest you think that by specifically mentioning these three tracks that I’m implying that the others are in some manner wanting, let me disabuse you of that notion. There are no songs on this CD that I dislike. I like them all.

But anyway, this is just one man’s opinion. Feel free to form your own. They have three of their songs available for download from their website. You should give them a listen. If you do choose to do the right thing and buy their CD (far be it from me to pass a value judgment, but if you don’t, the terrorists have already won), be aware that they produced and distributed it themselves, so it can be hard to find. I bought it from Amazon, but through a third party, as opposed to Amazon itself.

Hope you like it!

Average Rating: 5 out of 5 based on 299 user reviews.

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