Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – The Tourist

Genre – Soft rock

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s 2005 self-released debut album set a precedent for how bands might begin to approach making music independently. The record — which vocalist/multi-instrumentalist/songwriter Alec Ounsworth wrote entirely by himself— received widespread critical acclaim and was named one of “The 50 Most Important Recordings Of The Decade” by NPR.

In the ensuing years, Ounsworth has continued pushing himself creatively, releasing three additional Clap Your Hands Say Yeah full-lengths (for which he again wrote all of the music and lyrics) and issuing two solo projects.

Arriving at Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s fifth album The Tourist, Ounsworth’s creative drive and maturity is clear to see, with a variation of different strains of rock that divulges everything from piano led rock (Better Off and The Vanity Of Trying) to acoustic folk rock (Loose Ends).

Since their humble beginnings 12 years ago, Clap Your Hands, Say Yeah has seen a number of line-up changes, with Ounsworth remaining the only original member. The line-up changes have resulted in a varying degree of sounds over the years, despite the fact he writes all the music and the lyrics, but the vocals remain the only constant throughout the five albums.

When writing the album, he spoke of the lyrics driving the music, as opposed to the other way round. This vocal driven approach around emotionally filled acoustic rock numbers has led to a mix of silky sounds that marry to create a soft album that’s a very easy listen.

Ounsworth’s control of the creative process has led to Clap Your Hands becoming a slightly one dimensional act, filled with clichés. Musically a number of the tracks lack the depth to really draw in the audience, meaning The Tourist is just a nice album to listen to. It’s inoffensive, it’s cathartic and it’s soft.

It’s not a bad album, but it’s the sign of a musician that needs collaboration to help drag him out of his comfort zone. Although this album has a maturity to it, Ounsworth need someone take him away from the experimental sounds of his last few albums, and back toward the raw elements that made their self-released debut such a success in 2005.

RUSHONROCK RATED 6/10 Too nicey nicer for us dirty rockers!