Fancy Claps

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah regroup after a brief hiatus with tighter production and a more expansive sound on their third album, “Hysterical.”

The indie rock quintet Clap Your Hands Say Yeah brags fans including David Bowie and David Byrne.

Pieter M. van Hattem

The indie rock quintet Clap Your Hands Say Yeah brags fans including David Bowie and David Byrne.

Joseph Kleinschmidt


What: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah with Waters and Saturday Night Duets

Where: Varsity Theater, 1308 Fourth St. SE, Minneapolis

When: 8 p.m.,ThursdayCost: $19

Defying the record industryâÄôs domineering hierarchy, five guys from Brooklyn and Philadelphia released an album so engaging and creative that some declared that they had rewritten the rules of pop. Thanks to the blogs and virtual word of mouth, they were not forced to succumb to the industryâÄôs standards. And the idiosyncratic and polarizing sound of Clap Your Hands Say YeahâÄôs 2005 self-titled debut acquired universal acclaim virtually instantly. Initially bassist Tyler Sargent even mailed copies of the self-released album through the mail.

âÄúI think that the entire experience happened very fast,âÄù drummer Sean Greenhalgh said.

The speed at which Internet culture devoured Clap Your Hands Say YeahâÄôs music led to the bandâÄôs second release in 2007, âÄúSome Loud Thunder.âÄù Uneven and inconsistent, the album seemed to confirm initial detractorsâÄô opinions of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah: The band was nothing more than the product of overstated hype from various blogs.

âÄúI think that if it hindered us, it was because it was handed to us in a way,âÄù Greenhalgh said.

âÄúSome Loud ThunderâÄù seemed to spawn more confusion and uncertainty about the bandâÄôs direction. Greenhalgh now attributes the bandâÄôs rapid ascension to the lack of focus surrounding earlier recordings.

âÄúThere are bands that just spend their whole careers touring and making records,âÄù Greenhalgh said. âÄúWe didnâÄôt have to do that to sort of get over that first hump. I think thereâÄôs a value in putting a lot of time and effort.âÄù

The near instantaneous dissemination of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah might have doomed them early on, Greenhalgh admits. âÄúHystericalâÄù represents a new era for the band, for better or worse, with the extensive time in between the initial rise to fame and now.

âÄúYou learn a lot of things like how to make albums and how to have good stage presence âÄî and we had to learn those things really quickly,âÄù Greenhalgh said. âÄúI think that weâÄôre sort of caught up to where we need to be now.âÄù

Clap Your Hands Say YeahâÄôs hiatus led to abundant experience from side projects between them. Following âÄúSome Loud Thunder,âÄù Alec Ounsworth dedicated himself to writing solo material and music with his other band, Flashy Python. Also, members Robbie Guertin and Tyler Sargent went to work with other groups including Uninhabitable Mansions and Radical Dads. Side projects do not just showcase their penchant for amusing monikers âÄî Greenhalgh attributes the experience to the cohesion of their latest album, âÄúHysterical.âÄù

âÄúI think people working outside of the band has made everyone more confident,âÄù Greenhalgh said. âÄúTyler [Sargent]âÄôs been taking composition classes. So I think that he brings a more theory-based approach to songwriting.âÄù

âÄúHystericalâÄù represents a return to form in some ways as the band attempts to bridge the gap between the first and third albums. The broader sound, thanks in part to producer John Congleton (who has worked with St. Vincent and Modest Mouse) and an expansive studio space, represents the groupâÄôs continued search for maturity.

âÄú[The recording process] has a lot to do with that sort of hi-fi, widescreen fidelity thing happening,âÄù Greenhalgh said. âÄúI think it was recorded with a little more care. In the past, maybe weâÄôd set up a mic and spend two seconds on the guitar sound and just hit record.âÄù

Hopefully the less immediate creative process that âÄúHystericalâÄù employs does not lead to overtly pristine songs from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah âÄî the bandâÄôs sound has always benefitted from a sense of bleeding spontaneity. Their debut still feels natural in its simple production methods, and whimsical when it succeeds in deviating from normal techniques.

âÄúI think people that are surprised at the way that it sounds and the approach that we took âÄî it might take them a second to wrap their heads around that, and then they sort of get it in context with our other albums,âÄù Greenhalgh said.

âÄúHystericalâÄù or any other release from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah may never reach the level that fans first prognosticated, but the new album represents a new stage in the continued evolution of the band.

Greenhalgh said, âÄúAs artists or entertainers or whatever we are, we have to keep ourselves interested or else we shouldnâÄôt be doing it.âÄù