In any discussion regarding songwriters and lyricists of 21st century indie music, Alec Ounsworth and his moniker, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, will feature prominently. Few have been as consistently brilliant, eclectic, and intimate; fewer still remain defiantly independent, refusing to sign deals that compromise artistic vision. That is what characterizes Ounsworth’s oeuvre, especially the lifetime project he initiated sometime in the early 2000s, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. And with each release since its landmark self-titled debut, he has refined and broadened his sound, indulging an ever wider set of influences.
Prolific and enigmatic as ever, his recent works marry the quirky, left-field spirit of the early years with a well-earned confidence, and grander sense of scale and ambition. Always heading down new avenues of song arrangement and organic connection to his audience, after nearly two decades Ounsworth remains one of music’s most distinctive voices.
“Around 2004 and 2005, when we were receiving attention from labels and were presented with the choice of signing or remaining independent, what really cemented the decision – after the coin toss – was an inscription my friend wrote in a book he gave me, titled I, Lucifer. He quoted Paul Bowles: “Security is a false God. Begin to make sacrifices to it and you are lost.” – Alec Ounsworth, 2020.