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The best kept secret in music


"The Album We've Been Waiting For"

This is it: the album that we've been waiting for from the Manhattan-based Clap. For anyone who has followed this band over the past few years, there was never a question as to whether something big was coming-something that would define them and spotlight their unique talent and ability to take it to the next level. "LP" offers just that.

"LP" sets itself far apart from the two previous Clap albums. Something clearly happened to bandmembers Mike Haag, Jordan Brown, Casey Arbenz, and Andy Brown in the year and a half since their last split-release with Addictive Behavior. "LP" is a much more mature album. In fact, it is so much that it is difficult at times to distinguish their music from the already successful indie stars of today's rock radio stations. A quick listen brings to mind up and coming bands Arcade Fire and Grandaddy Indeed, one easily gets the impression that Clap took their time with this album. They didn't force anything. And the result is nothing short of a mix of delicate melodies and rock anthems.

The opening track "Thunderstruck" makes it clear from the start that this is not going to be what you might expect from Clap. Stripped down to just a piano and a guitar, I found myself wondering if I perhaps put the wrongs disc in my compact disc player. But with a closer listen, I start to see what made Clap unique all along: their ability to fuse the harmonies and melodies of classics like Paul Simon, James Taylor and the Beach Boys with today's indie, punk rock. Indeed "Thunderstruck" shows just what this band is capable of. It turns off all of the effects for just a few minutes to show all just what they've missed beneath the layers of distortion that define modern punk rock.

As the closing notes of "Thunderstruck" fade out and come to an end, listeners are reintroduced to that familiar Clap sound with "I Will Be." But even here, as we are brought back to Clap's original sound, something is still different. These songs seem much more carefully crafted than those of past albums. Haag's lyrics are much more on point than ever before. It becomes evident that he has grown into his own as a songwriter as indicated by the much more genuine feeling listeners get with these new songs.

With "Club," band member Jordan Brown shows a unique ability to mix old school Texas country/folk and indie in a White Stripes sort of way that again shows that it is no one member but the band as a whole that has changed with this album. The addition of the piano parts on "Club" and several other songs on this album add a much greater dynamic to an already catchy sound.

With "Yours," Haag unknowingly seems to suggest that his new bare-all sort of approach to songwriting that makes this album such a hit may have to do with significant changes in his own personal life.

"45" is perhaps the best gem on the album. With a solid mix and an unforgettable rock groove underneath it, "45" is the type of song that listeners will love and hate at the same time as they find the song irreversably stuck in their head for days on end. With "45," Clap bursts into an all out anthem declaring "we go on and on til it's better," a line that clearly becomes an unintentional theme of the album.

For those lamenting up until now in this review for the good ole days of those four immature Manhattaners who drew their name from a sexually transmitted disease one would most commonly find in the suburbs of sunny San Diego, "Booty" offers just the cure. Here, Clap shows that, contrary to what one might otherwise assume, the subject of pirates can still make for a good song. "Booty" is a highlight of the album in its own right. With an instrumental chorus that thumps hard, it is the ideal live song.

Clap closes out the album with a few familiar tunes in Ohio, I Will Be (acoustic), and 45 (acoustic). Most notably, "The Falling" is the sort of song that would close out the perfect live show, leaving the audience on the edge of their seats desperately waiting for the next show.

"LP" is without a doubt, one of the finest albums to come out of an up and coming local music scene. Mark my words: Clap will be the next band to place Manhattan, Kansas on the map for music.

For more on Clap, check out -


LP-Neil's in My Heart(June 2003)
Ep-Untitled(Feb. 2004)
Lp-(Apr. 2005)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Clap actually has some diverse influences.
Jordan dig's bands for which we couldn't possilby remember all the names. He's the most conscious of all of us as to looking and listening to new music. Bands like "thrice", and such. Casey's influences come from Blink 182, Social Distortion, and a little bit of Johnny Cash just to mix it up. Andy just seems up for anything although, we see him wearing "new punk" band t-shirts all the time. He and Jordan get into the harder rock more than the other two. Mike falls short of these guys in being influenced more by older acts like Simon & Garfunkel and James Taylor. Though the "Weezer" influence comes straight from his writing too. He's more of a wandering soul.

Clap is an old and young band. Casey's 25, Mike's 23 and Jordan and Andy are both 21.

Clap came together due mostly to mutual friendships with other musicians in town, and all seem to be pumped and glad to put something this fresh together in a town that needed it.