Remaining Member Sighs Life Into CYHSY
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s fifth album was released this year by sole remaining member, Alec Ounsworth, who worked with Nick Krill this time on production. After a three-year hiatus, the founding member attempted to bring life and relevancy back to CYHSY’s indie-rock legacy with The Tourist.
The Tourist starts off beautifully with opening track “The Pilot,” which is catchy, light and airy and displays a real sense of musicality. It is a strong start, yet after the opener, the album seems to meander off here and there without much purpose. “A Chance to Cure” sounds like a dull cross between Phoenix and U2 and is a challenge to really engage with. Then there are songs like “Down (Is Where I Want to Be)” that are fast-paced and manic, bordering on theatrical. It’s challenging to get past the nauseating vocals in “Unfolding Above Celibate Moon (Lost Angeles Nursery Rhyme),” but “The Vanity of Trying” is promising with ’80s-inspired beats and instrumentation, while remaining true to Ounsworth’s love of fourths in his vocal flips in otherwise monotonous melodies.
The Tourist cools down with “Loose Ends,” slowing down the pace, but the track is pretty plain and simple. Violins come in for “Ambulance Chaser,” a drawn out ballad that operates in Morrissey fashion, but the moans, along with the shrill guitar solo at the end, aren’t easy to digest. In fact, the melodies seem to just be variations of each other — another reason The Tourist fails to truly captivate its anticipating audience. “Visiting Hours” closes the album in a sigh of a song, fading out with persistent distortion, which was an odd choice.
It seems that the tracks that were most successful were the ones that really attempted to fill in the sound. The vocals are also less tremolo-involved and more clear and echoing. Although CYHSY were once successful, producing catchy indie-pop riffs such as on several tracks of their 2005’s self-titled, self-released debut — perhaps due to the bands ever changing lineup — the success the group once experienced in the past does not quite translate to The Tourist.