Succinct and jittery, “Maniac” does its best to disguise its power pop roots with multifaceted synthesizers and vocal effects (and affects) but the thing about power pop is in the end there’s no hiding it. The chorus gives it away pretty much by definition. So there it is, at 1:09, the power-pop heart of this otherwise anxious-seeming song.
And yes I realize that it’s anxious-seeming in good part because Alex Ounsworth, with his strangled, nasally tenor, makes David Byrne sound almost relaxed. CYHSY have in fact drawn a lot of Talking Heads comparisons in the past, for clear enough reasons, but this time around I find some unexpected linkage to a different band that arose in late-’70s New England—the Cars. “Maniac” doesn’t sound like the Cars as much as it behaves like them, for its successful wrapping of an edgy, synthesizer-led, contemporary vibe around old-school rock’n’roll melodicism. Though, on second thought, this may likewise sound more like the Cars than it might initially seem. Segue “Maniac” into “Gimme Some Slack” (Spotify users: give it a try) and you will find some wonderful resonance—not an exact fit by any means, but the echoes are there. I direct your ears in particular to the deep guitar line at 2:07, which introduces what works as a kind of an alternate chorus here, and is both very Cars-like and a beautiful power pop device. That’s really where everything comes together in this one.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is a five-man band from Brooklyn with a bit of internet history that you either know already or don’t need to know. Seriously. Forget about it. Let’s just listen to the music, sports fans. “Maniac” is a track from their upcoming album, Hysterical, which the band will self-release next month. MP3 via Magnet Magazine.