Saturday, February 17, 2007

song of the week: the skin of my yellow country teeth

I know I'm a couple of years behind the rest of you indie-kids, but aren't Clap Your Hands Say Yeah wonderful? A little bit lo-fi, a little bit orchestral, a nod to The Flaming Lips here (specifically Transmissions from the Satellite Heart), a shrug at early Radiohead there (Let the Cool Goddess Rust Away is Stop Whispering) a little bit Silver Jews, un petit peu Pavement, with a lead vocalist who sounds like a young Thom Yorke on ketamine. I am smitten.

Opening with a buzzy mock-organ, chiming guitars and clattering, playful drumming, this lilting tuneful pop-rock song is lovingly massacred by Alec Ounsworth's sleepy, whiney drawl and slurred phrasing. Gently moving, subtly stirring and beautifully (self) produced, this is possibly one of the classiest indie tracks released in 2005, on an album filled with classy indie tunes. The entire album has an endearing early 90s aesthetic - it's proud to be understated, sincere, and a bit slummy, and yet is fully capable of slamming together some cute percussion and surprising riffs. But perhaps more importantly, like most of those mopey, hushed albums I cherished in my teens, it is made to be enjoyed as a start-finish album and has got under my skin.

The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth not only has a grand title, much capacity for both indie foot-shuffling and full-on triumphant crowd-surfing, and irresistible rhythm, but it features one of music's happy accidents - the lovely recent misheard lyric, which sounds like 'I've never been to Legoland before' (It's actually I have never planned/To let go of the hand that has been (clinging by its thick country skin / to my yellow country teeth)) - and everybody knows all the best songs have those.


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