Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Hysterical

written by: September 22, 2011
Release Date: Septermber 13, 2011


Clap Your Hands Say Yeah puts up a good fight. On Hysterical, the band has a clear evolution of the style they’re in right now. We, as listeners, can watch them become stronger within the energy they’ve conquered at this stage in their careers. It’s mostly light and flowing as opposed to their usual. What’s exciting about their change of pace can quickly be compromised for a single-toned sort of safe complexion throughout.

A lot of hype has gone into the release of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s new album. Unfortunately, many of the people who hoped for great music on this album might be let down. Hysterical has no surprises, no astonishments and no incredibility. Only once or twice does it have the listener really going. Aside from that, much of the same work is repeated musically. The record is a little more pop-rock than indie-experimental, and that’s its greatest mistake. The work of the band since their beginning has followed more of an individual indie-rock style, but it seems that they’ve settled for a more mainstream tone that we’ve heard before. It’s a shame that CYHSY couldn’t take a bigger risk or even go along with what they’ve produced in the past. This is an obvious downgrade from what fans are used to hearing from them.

Hysterical has decent craftsmanship and execution of thoughts and ideas. Their greatest moment is at the beginning of the album in “Same Mistake.” It’s unclear whether the song sounds good because it is a legitimately good song or just because it’s new to the listener and fresh because it’s the first song. Either way, it’s fun.

The sound is much like Two Door Cinema Club mixed with the New Pornographers and a drowsy vocalist. It’s not the most appealing combination, but it’s also its own tone. For that, they deserve a bit of credit.

After the leading track introduces the album, we hear the meaning of the album in the title track, “Hysterical.” You’d think that Clap Your Hands Say Yeah would put their all into this kind of title. However, their motives lack explanation. “Hysterical” isn’t actually hysterical. It’s more like “slightly laughable.”

CYHSY’s songwriting gets its best attention early on during “Misspent Youth,” an ode to the shamelessly shameful moments of childhood and adolescence. It’s neat how they use the lyrics, “The engine was not built to last,” as the perfect metaphor for their past.

“In a Motel” is where the album tries vehemently to get creative, impelementing some synth and interesting guitar riffs as it slows down a bit. It isn’t terrible, especially because it finally goes for a newer sound halfway through the album. Yet still, it’s obvious the band tried a bit too hard to sound edgy and avant garde on the track. It’s just weird.

What’s also weird is the way the band chose to sign off. The song before the instrumental could’ve amounted to something, but instead, the piano/vocal track sounded like it had taken a sleeping pill. From there, the pace picked up into a racing track where every instrument fought for attention, including the vocals. It’s difficult to listen to, and it’s not a good way to dismiss the listener.

All in all, Hysterical isn’t what it promises. It might be a play on words, but soon, it becomes a play on the listener, and eventually, a play on the band. Sorry, folks.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Hysterical Tracklist:

  1. “Same Mistake”
  2. “Hysterical”
  3. “Misspent Youth”
  4. “Maniac”
  5. “Into Your Alien Arms”
  6. “In a Motel”
  7. “Yesterday, Never”
  8. “Idiot”
  9. “Siesta (For Snake)”
  10. “Ketamine and Ecstasy”
  11. “The Witness’ Dull Surprise”
  12. “Adam’s Plane”