TOP NEW INDIE POP: CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH - FIREPROOF
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah Get Funky, Synthy On ‘Fireproof’
It’s been a minute since we’ve heard from Philadelphia’s Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. It’s been three years since Only Mile, and a lot has changed in the indie underground in that time. We’ve gone through a couple of synth resurgences; a punk revival or two; the (questionable) return of yacht rock and the raising up of Future Funk. In today’s quickly-turning underground, we remain positioned between a rising relevance of guitar-centric indie rock and a total dismissal of the form.
CLAP YOUR HANDS SAY YEAH - FIREPROOF
Some have claimed the return of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah as a sonic comfort blanket - a steadfast, dependable hangover from the indie boom of the mid-2000s. Speaking on “Fireproof,” the lead single from The Tourist, TheAwl.com’s Alex Balk claims, “Anyway, this sounds exactly what you would expect a Clap Your Hands Say Yeah song to sound like, and there is something comforting in that.” Others see it as a push forward, embracing the digital sheen of the Vaporwave and the Future Funk miasma. The music blog Indie Obsessive speaks on “Fireproof”’s futuristic sheen, “Until this week, we considered “Fireproof” to be a leap into synth. That changed when we heard the track on a stereo with better fidelity at the lower frequency range. The heavy use of the bass/kick drum functioned to achieve a gravitation pull on our attention. The bass drum isn’t limited to its usual role of providing rhythm for the remainder of the drum set and the other elements of the song. Instead, the bass drum is featured.”
“Fireproof” is one of the most convincing indie rock/synth hybrids we’ve heard, here at We Are: The Guard. Reminiscent of M83’s most recent retro-worship, Junk, with its TGIF fascination, casting synths and guitars in a neon drop shadow, liberally doused in ‘80s sax solos, “Fireproof” sands off the rough digital edges of so much of today’s 80’s-referencing rock. Rather than sounding like information overload on an ecstasy comedown, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are dealing with the deluge of art, media, and technology in a healthier manner than the dystopian Vaporwave Surfers, choosing to augment their guitars, basses, and synths with little production flourishes and electro dashes, like the sci-fi lift-off of analog electronics leading into the chorus.
Someone is “Fireproof” when they possess utter self-confidence and control. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are confident, in this new future, using technological tools to augment solid songwriting and killer musicianship. Honestly, they didn’t sound nearly as self-confident, timely, or relevant during the indie boom. 10 years on, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are coming into their own. Let other ‘80s-indebted indie musicians take note.
J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.