TRACK: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – ‘Where They Perform Miracles’: Alec brings the yearn and then some

Alec Ounsworth, aka Clap You Hands Say Yeah, photographed by Ian Shiver

ALEC OUNSWORTH’S Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are following up the double whammy of October’s twin single drop, “Thousand Oaks”/”Hesitation Nation” (which we adored here) with the beautiful and elegiac “Where They Perform Miracles”, from forthcoming new album, New Fragility.

It’s intimate, has that beautiful, tremulous voice and bodes exceedingly well for the album, his first since 2017’s The Tourist.

As always, Alec draws on personal experience and thoughts with precision; “Where They Perform Miracles” takes its lyrical seed from his time as an anthropology undergrad, during which he made trips to investigate Mexican shamanic culture. He considered the idea of using alternative methods of healing to fix a broken relationship; to return to “a place of comfort”, as he puts it in the song.

“Take my hand again”, he yearns; “I want to be the one who got to know you when you gave it all away, you had nothing left.” There’s simple, minor acoustic chords, a raw harmonica, and by god when his voice cracks … .

Commenting on the song, Alec observed: “Most of these rituals are meant to wake you up physically and emotionally.

“A lot of it seems over the top, but people need that to burn something into their minds.”

New Fragility is a title that succinctly sums up exactly where we’re at as a civilisation, as a species, as nation states; a trauma Alec’s spent the best part of three years processing. 

“It’s pretty personal,” he confesses. “It’s about what I think we’re all experiencing at the moment, certainly here in the United States anyway – trying to move forward amidst an almost cruel uncertainty.”

Elsewhere on New Fragility Alec examines depression, divorce, getting older – even Clap Your Hands Say Yeah back at the beginning.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah will be live-streaming a solo performance via Bandcamp Live, the platform’s new ticketed live concert streaming programme, at 8pm Eastern Time on January 29th, 2021; that’s 1am on the 30th, Greenwich Mean Time. The stripped-down performance will feature many of the songs on New Fragility being performed for the first time in public alongside CYHSY classics. You can purchase your ticket here.

And to cap it all, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah will be playing across Europe next year. The dates are as follows:

September 18th, 2021, Brussels, Botanique – Rotonde;

September 19th, Amsterdam, Paradiso;

September 21st, Bristol, Thekla;

September 22nd, Cambridge, Portland Arms;

September 23rd, Manchester, YES (The Pink Room);

September 24th, Dublin, Whelans;

September 25th, Liverpool, District;

September 26th, Leeds, Brudenell Social Club;

September 28th, London, Scala;

September 29th, Paris, La Maroquinerie;

September 30th, Clermont-Ferrand, La Cooperative de Mai;

October 1st, Barcelona, Sala Apolo;

October 2nd, Madrid, Independence Club;

October 4th, Nîmes, Paloma;

October 5th, Zurich, Bogen F;

October 6th, Milan, BIKO;

October 7th, Bologna, Covo Club;

October 6th, Neuchâtel, Case a Chocs;

October 10th, Dresden, Beatpol;

October 12th, Berlin, Frannz Club;

October 13th, Copenhagen, Hotel Cecil;

October 14th, Hamburg, Molotow, and

October 15th, Cologne, Bumann & Sohn.

New Fragility will be released via CYHSY/Secretly Distribution on February 12th on digital, CD, trad black and limited Coke-bottle clear vinyl; get your order in now, here. Our little listens so far reveal a record of much beauty. Watch out for our review in the week of release.

Follow Clap Your Hands Say Yeah at his website, on Facebook, on Twitter and on Instagram.

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