Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Patrick Stolley
There doesn't seem to be much that could help today and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah aren't helping much, though I can't say that I really wanted them to. It's better that they do what they do, rather than do something that might be a compromise. It's sort of been their thing all along, anyway - the whole doing their thing thing. It could just be that the pollen counts are through the roof - a spring come early. It could just be all those buds on the trees popping open like allergic demons are to blame for the sour mood and the desire to just give up and sleep all day. There's been a painful inability to focus on anything that demands it. It feels like the day's much worse than it actually is, but there's a dread of the insane work that needs to be done on the yard and a fence that needs fixing. Somehow, a winter that never happened was still able to wreck havoc on things I've never had to think about before. It's the opposite of domestic bliss and somehow there's an unflattering amount of sleep deprivation that's piled up and hitting all at once. It's being worn down and worn out. It's not knowing what the fuck is going on. It feels like it's mounting and it feels like it's set in for a while.
Considering it some more, maybe Clap Your Hands, and the literate and drowsily emotional tales that Alec Ounsworth writes are helping some. They're typically depressing, but isn't someone else's depressing life always something of an uplifting thing? Watching "The Descendents" last night for the first time, it was hard not to watch Alexander Payne's wonderfully depressing/pseudo brighter note ending story play out and not be taken by the tremendously positive thought that your wife's not being taken off of life support, she wasn't cheating on you with a real estate agent who didn't love her and then the worse emotion that overcomes it all - the mourning of someone you really did love, through it all, despite it all. There's always a lot of shit to deal with and there's strange comfort in hearing about what others are messing with and weighing it against your own issues.
Typical Clap Your Hands Say Yeah characters are those like the ones in "Misspent Youth," a song that wonders about whether or not there's any glory in such days, where sex is traded for drugs and there's a sad amount of regret in all of the bad decisions that are made for minimal good reason. Their songs seem to attach the appropriate amount of pleasure on these decisions, as Ounsworth's understated, pitched-to-suit, nasally monotone brings them across as subtly shamed, but what they are. They carry with them a hangdog mentality as he states, "There's a permanence to the memory of the blues." Ounsworth, guitarist/keyboardist Robbie Guertin, guitarist/keyboardist Lee Sargent, bassist Tyler Sargent and drummer Sean Greenhalgh make staying in a motel feel EXACTLY like staying in a motel. It's this feeling that you're there and you'd rather be somewhere else. You'd rather be in your own bed, but you can't be. It's wasted time and it's loneliness. It's feeling the tatters of reality sinking you a little, diminishing you grain-by-grain. It's the mulling over.