As with the Talking Heads' David Byrne, Alec Ounsworth's singing quivers on the brink of madness. Here's the difference: Byrne's flirtations with insanity were frenetic and commanding, while Ounsworth whimpers in hapless and paranoid tones. The challenge for Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is finding a vibe to match Ounsworth's unsettled voice, just as the Talking Heads turned Byrne into a "Psycho Killer."
On their 2005 debut, the Brooklyn band wove quirky, minor-key riffs around Ounsworth's agitations. This time around, they give us songs frequently out of sync with their frontman. Their bouts of fuzzy power-pop would be better left to Beulah. The melodrama of "Love Song No. 7" is more whine than roses. Happily, all is not lost. "Satan Said Dance" is five minutes of freaky indie psychedelia and the album's best track.
Good as they are, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are still searching for their true antisocial identity. If they found it, they could be masters.