If I had an infant, I would want to build him a musical mobile to spin above his crib. This wouldn’t be just any mobile, it would be the platonic ideal of a mobile: Brooklyn’s own Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s self-titled debut would be the mobile’s soundtrack. Whimsical, circus-y synth work and merry-go-round titles like “Sunshine & Clouds (and Everything Proud)” make Clap Your Hands Say Yeah the perfect aural stimulant for a child. Of course I mean “perfect” in a twisted, gothic, Edward Gorey cartoon way, but who doesn’t want their infant to be exposed to the sinister and depressed?
Clap Your Hands’ Alec Ounsworth has a slightly unhinged quality to his voice that recalls David Byrne, but with an element of demented ringleader to it. Particularly in the opening track, when Ounsworth is goading listeners to “Clap your hands!” and a chorus of dissenters cries, “But I feel so lonely!,” he sounds like a creepy Willy Wonka, encouraging a child to gorge on chocolate. Seems plenty of people are waiting to be turned into sideshow freaks: With help from Pitchfork and insound, Clap Your Hands sold out its initial pressing of 2,000 copies and has shippped 15,000 total already. Send in the clowns, I say.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah play Mercury Lounge September 16.