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Clap Your Hands Say Yeah Only Run (Xtra Mile Recordings)

Philadelphia native Alec Ounsworth is now a decade into his career as CYHSY mainstay and songwriter-in-chief, though for this fourth studio album the band has been whittled down yet further to a core duo of Ounsworth and drummer Sean Greenhalgh, with The National's Matt Berninger contributing guest vocals to one track (the fuzz-drenched Coming Down) and Kid Koala helping out on Cover Up.

But mostly it's Ounsworth's party as he combines his introspective lyrics with musical settings ranging from the intimate (he trialled the songs in a series of "living room gigs" in the US before entering the recording studio) to the widescreen. Little Moments and closing track Impossible Request fit into that second category, sweeping in on a bed of big synths, chiming guitars and euphoric vocal hooks. At times it sounds like a cross between Radiohead - blame Ounsworth's keening tenor for that - and a less brash MGMT, but as the songs unspool, a sort of idiosyncratic majesty is eventually revealed.

Barry Didcock

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