Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Stagnant Pools -- U Street Music Hall - June 2 2014

Stagnant Pools - It's another guitar and drums duo which, along with vocals, makes for the usual breakdown of three distinct sounds. And distinct is the word for this band as all parts sound quite different, yet work to achieve a cohesive whole... at least somewhat. The drumming is powerful with some creative throbbing rhythms and is a real highlight here. The guitar work has a shoegaze drone quality that can go with the pace when needed. The vocals is where things don't quite connect for me. The dreary Ian Curtis quality certainly can work, but with Joy Division, Ian had a lot more than one move, in spite of his profound and intense style. Here, it just goes on and on, even as the music shifts around nicely depending on the song. I hope they work on that, as there are some core elements that work here.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - This is the second 'Yeah' band I have seen in the past year and in both cases, the live set was much better than I expected, even with the fine reputations of both bands (the other being the Yeah Yeah Yeahs). It was a real pleasure to listen to how this band takes such complex moves and combines them in ways that work so well with a pop music simplicity to it all. Progressive pop hooks? I am not sure too many bands can do it this well. They switched around their instrumental combinations with drums and vocals working full time with differing numbers of guitars, keyboards, and/or a bass. Although that helped freshen the songs, it was much more due to their very sharp songwriting abilities and skilled control of sounds and pace. They had songs that had a post-Radiohead style to them, as well as a few that reminded me of the sharper new wave cuts back in the day. I suppose if you imagine Radiohead with a sense of fun like the B-52s added in, you get something in this direction. But Clap Your Hands Say Yeah have certainly and successfully carved out their own musical space as they showed tonight with a large supportive crowd reminding them of that after every song. I'm hooked and now it is up to me to make up for lost time with their recordings.

Quote of the Night, again drawn from the Tom Hawking article, 'The 30 Harshest Musician-on-Musician Insults in History'...

26. Trent Reznor on Marilyn Manson
“A malicious guy [who] will step on anybody’s face to succeed, and cross any line of decency.”

No comments: